5 Female Designers to Watch

We’re celebrating all things women and their talent in honour of ‘International Women’s Day’!

We have a host of posts (see what I did there…) featuring inspirational women and their work and views from across the Nordic countries, and I have the utmost pleasure in bringing you a round-up of our favourite emerging female fashion designers. These women are creating beautiful and inspiring collections for men and women, earning prestigious awards, making clothes that we love and looking after the environment – and supporting local producers while they’re at it! *applause*

Aníta Hirlekar – Iceland

Producing unique handmade garments which play with color and texture, Aníta Hirlekar takes modern creativity and juxtaposes it against shape and femininity. ELLE Denmark and Vogue Italia have both sung her praises as one of the up-and-coming international designers to watch and we couldn’t agree more as her designs evoke a freshness and care-free approach to exploring imperfections and the human touch. Having developed relationships with local artisans in the North of Iceland, she believes in longevity and timeless investment, ensuring her garments are long-lasting and are made with minimal waste. After LVMH head-hunted Aníta to collaborate with BVLGARI on a bespoke handbag in 2014, she has gone on to work with DIESEL and ShowStudio, and we hope there are more amazing collaborations in the pipeline because we love her work!

Cecilie Bahnsen – Denmark

Cecilie Bahnsen set up her eponymous womenswear label after completing an MA in Womenswear Design at the Royal College of Art in London. Her designs focus on craftsmanship and traditional techniques such as patchwork and embroidery, but in a new and exciting way, creating fresh feminine silhouettes and dramatic shapes. Cecilie’s effortless designs and elegant understanding of structure and layering have earnt her a place on the shortlist for this year’s LVMH prize which I think she HUGELY deserves – she also won the DANSK Design Talent Award in 2016. Bahnsen is the only Nordic designer in this year’s LVMH nominations and we are very proud of her and her absolutely stunning designs.

Naemi Gustavsson – Sweden

We LOVED Naemi when we discovered her earlier this year and think she is going to be a big hit in the streetwear/modernist fashion game! Designing her menswear line from the city of Malmö, she combines and deconstructs functional clothing and introduces new meaning to old silhouettes. Functionality and the purpose of materials are used as tools to create connections between her garments and the wearer. Most importantly, all of Naemi’s collections are made with sustainability 100% at the forefront of her mind from the design through to the production – her A/W17 collection takes waste materials from a weaver and recycled high-tech sports materials. Go, Naemi!

Elisabeth Stray Pedersen – Norway

After graduating with an MA in Fashion Womenswear at the Oslo National Academy, Elisabeth Stray Pedersen set up her own fashion label taking custom orders, before launching her RTW line in 2015. Using local Norwegian producers to provide her with the finest lambswool that is Woolmark certified and Nordic Eco labeled, we love Elisabeth’s commitment to animal welfare, the environment and her local ecosystem of producers and workers. Her collections are sexy, yet subtle and relaxed, focusing on shape and texture, creating a woman of power and glamour in the most Nordic way. Specialising in wool coats, jackets and scarves, I find it refreshing to see collections that were almost made from the outside in and manufactured perfectly and wholly in Norway.

Maija Mero – Finland

Last year Maija Mero won Aalto University’s Finnair Prize for her graduate collection which featured oversized ruffles, velvet, patent leather and glitter, which was inspired by Finnish gypsies. Mixing feminine and masculine styles, glamour and dramatic silhouettes, she showed an amazing first collection that had everyone gripped. The dramatic silhouettes and feminine fabrics are reminiscent of a mixture of pieces from Chloe or Gucci, with a dark side to their beauty and delicacy. We absolutely love what Maija has created so far and cannot wait to see what will come from her over the next few seasons!

This post is part of our celebration of International Women’s Day 2017. Find all related content here!