The rise of the model-turned-designer

As models succeed in taking on the tailors that dress them, are the days of the designer over?

by

Writer 

08 May 2014

Most ardent fashion followers are able to recognise the model faces of familiar brands with ease but getting to know much more than their skintone was another matter. However, the recent rise of the bespoke label or 'capsule collection' mean that top models are no longer just the faces of brands, but the designers behind them too. They now have opinions, ideas and creative inputs into the designers they wear. 

Off the runway, models are communicating their signature styles and personalities to establish themselves as a brand. In the past two years, a number of models have collaborated with popular labels to design collections. It was way back in 2007 when Kate Moss first worked with British high-street retailer Topshop on a mini collection. Seven years later, the number of models-turned-designers has increased dramatically. Companies range from Warby Parker with Victoria's Secret model Karlie Kloss to California based company RVCA and American model Ashley Smith and let's not forget the Olsen twins billion dollar line The Row. Considering they already work insdie the industry, the feeling is that models and actresses have a good understanding of fashion, and so they become trusted brands overnight. 

                           olsens

Lately, model-designed clothes have taken over as the real luxury for celebrities. The Duchess of Cambridge and Cameron Diaz are just two icons who regularly select bespoke over designer labels. A revolution has taken place where money is rapidly being placed on custom-made garments. In opposition of what we traditionally believe to be luxury labels, made-to-measure pieces are being coined as "the new luxury" replacing the latest designer collections with individuality.

This endorsement of bespoke pieces by notable well-heeled personalities exemplifies the new demand in fashion to wear clothes by discreet designers. This movement towards custom design will likely influence the way businesswomen and socialites dress in the future. Hannah MacGibbon, design consultant and former creative director at Chloe, explains, "This feels like the ultimate personal luxury. You gain a level of craftsmanship and quality, from skilled workers, that is simply not possible in a ready-to-wear garment."

                               Kate Middleton

Plum Sykes, contributing editor at Vogue, agrees with this trend, saying "You only have to look at the best dressed men to see that bespoke is the way to go: it is one area where we can learn from the boys." When it comes to menswear, the most impressive men go bespoke. Up until now, weddings were the sole occasion that thrived on custom wear. Currently, the bespoke trend is the fastest growing aspect of fashion design.

                      Kendall Jenner

Custom tailoring and design is flattering for a larger number of consumers because many mainstream fashion lines stop at a UK size 14. New Zealander, Emilia Wickstead, is one of the best-kept secrets in London as a custom fashion designer. Her elegant suits fit hard-working and sophisticated women executives. "I wanted to shake off the slightly Mumsy image of made-to-measure and make bespoke relevant to young, contemporary women." Clients include: Julia Peyton-Jones, India Hicks, Samantha Cameron and Anya Hindmarch. MacGibbon concludes, "There is so much on offer in the world of high fashion. It is fast and furious, with a constant demand for instant gratification, but this feels like the ultimate personal luxury. There is something about the process of being measured, choosing the details such as the right shoulder line, the lapel, the silhouette, going for fittings, the impeccable finishing." Bespoke, it seems, is the latest trend seen in the fashion industry that will quickly rise to fame.