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The creatives leading the new age fashion revolution

Here are the guys rejuvenating the runways with functionality and imagination

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Weekly updates

Walk into Voo Store in Berlin, and you’ll see Nike sit peacefully beside Alexander McQueen and Carven. Didn’t cop an invite to J.W. Anderson’s show? No need, just live stream it on Grindr. Watch Gosha’s AW16 collection and you’ll see the 6ft Italian stallions replaced with 14-year-old misfits sporting awkwardly high sweatpants and dishevelled ’90s punk-rock attire.

The industry is in a weird place right now, as it slowly irons out the kinks of a century-old business model and makes alterations to satisfy ‘see now, want now’ audiences. While the internet does, of course, bare some responsibility for the much-needed revolution, artistic brains from within some of fashion’s powerful names are re-writing the fashion bible and bringing the industry up to speed with creativity and innovation.

Each bringing with them unique experiences, cultural upbringings and visions, here are the guys rejuvenating the runways with functionality and imagination for the people that matter most: the street.

01. Raf Simons

“I don’t want to show clothes, I want to show my attitude, my past, present and future. I use memories and future visions and try to place them in todays world..”

What better way to start the list off than with the very man who revolutionised the way men dress today. From the moment he slipped into Dior’s creative director position back in the ’80s, Simons has been worshipped for his rebellion against menswear’s pigeonholed silhouette. Simons was responsible for reviving the super slim suit, pulling teens off the street and on to the runway, producing timeless collaborations, and you know the logo-drenched, multilayered look hypebeasts drown your newsfeed with? That was Raf too. There’s no denying that Simons presence in the fashion world has spurred a trickle down effect on designers, making it okay for individual personality and working style to shine through.

02. Demna Gvasalia

“..We target people, who wear the clothes. Of course there are fashion people in there, but what the industry actually thinks of a brand, for us, is less of an issue than what the person, who has our clothes actually thinks. And I think that’s more long-term.”

Flick through recent fashion week photos and you’ll spot that Thrasher-themed hoodie hanging around somewhere. Vetements, a design collective made up of ex-Margielas, can best be defined by what it definitely isn’t—non-chic, non-thematic, non-seasonal and non-couture. While the brand’s scarce and anti-restock nature adopts a similar model to that of luxury houses, Vetements figurehead and Balenciaga creative director, Demna Gvasalia, announced recently that the brand will be showing womenswear collections twice a year in line with the menswear schedule. This will mean that all collections will be available for those (who can afford it) just one month after the showing. Gsavalia does not limit his norm-defying vision to Vetements, but injects it into Balenciaga’s collections as well.

03. Nic Galway

“When it comes to doing something new I think you have to see and say ‘I haven’t seen that before, but I get where it’s coming from,’ but it’s genuinely new.”

The shift in the fashion industry is by no means limited to just clothes. Sneakers too have experienced the push-pull relationship between high-end fashion and sportswear over the past decade. This is nothing new for adidas, as the brand has always remained loyal to tried and tested concepts, teamed with consistent innovation. It’s only natural then, that adidas holds the top spot for such functional and culturally relevant products. Leading the adidas charge is Nic Galway. Hailing from a background in automotive design, the VP of Global Design has played a pivotal role in launching the Tubular, introducing Y-3 to the adidas rotation, and turning Yeezy’s dreams into a reality. With Nic’s clever design thinking and widely successful collaboration projects, we can expect nothing less than remarkable from adidas in the future.

04. Olivier Rousteing

“You don’t need to be the richest house or have the biggest campaign. You now have access to everyone, and a different way to show the world your clothes.”

Hearing “he toss my salad like his name Romaine, and when we done, I make him buy me Balmain,” in Nicki Minaj’s track ‘Anaconda’, was a sure sign of success for Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing. Racial diversification, youth, and self-expression are characteristics not usually associated with old-school French fashion maisons, but from day one as creative director for Balmain, Olivier Rousteing has challenged the French giant’s passé temps with bold moves to celebrate the new era. Rousteing isn’t just communicating his visions through the powerful figures wearing his collections, he’s illustrating Balmain’s new chapter through his own Instagram account. If there’s one lesson the industry can learn from Rousteing, it’s understanding that letting your work speak for itself is not enough these days. In order to be deemed a game-changer, designers must communicate change to the people beyond the front row.

05. Shayne Oliver

Menswear is not glamorous, and womenswear is, so why not mix the two together?”

If you have any interest at all in streetwear, I’m sure you’ll have seen the all caps, white on black (and vice versa) HBA logo stamped across fuccbois’ chests from all corners of the world. HBA designer Shayne Oliver doesn’t have much fashion experience, but what he does have is an undeniable skill to express a generation style that looks past just clothes and into a shockingly charming energy. Whatever it is that Shayne Oliver produces, whether it be the clothes, the campaigns, the music, the photography, the models, there is always an undying push of obscurity and shock-value that’s pushed rising creatives to be everything and more without fear.