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Backstage at Fashion East

Time Out get an exclusive look backstage at one of London Fashion Week's hottest events

Photo: Elisabeth Blanchet
Promoting new design talent since 2000, Fashion East is consistently one of the most hotly anticipated shows of London Fashion Week. Founder Lulu Kennedy has a knack of cherry-picking tomorrow's design superstars; past protégées include Jonathan Saunders, Roksanda Ilincic and Gareth Pugh. This year the show's line-up was stronger than ever, with three very different aesthetics.

Newcomer Ashley Williams, whose Texan-inspired graduate collection was modelled by Pixie Geldof and Alice Dellal, presented a pop-art themed collection with Elvis frocks and bold logo-print outfits. Remember her name now, she's gonna be huge. Stockton-on-Tees born Claire Barrow, now in her second season at Fashion East, turned mundane objects like lampshades and granny shoes into dynamic new accessories. For Hong Kong born Ryan Lo, also in his second season for Fashion East, it was all about fro-frou frocks and fantasy. Here, fresh off the catwalk, the designers talk to Maggie Davis about their new collections. Photography by Elisabeth Blanchet.
Ashley Williams

Ashley Williams

How does exhibiting at Fashion East feel?
I was more scared about going out at the end than about anything else!

How long have you been working on this collection?
Since November. I finished studying (a BA in womenswear at Westminster University) in May.

What does Fashion East mean to you?
Everything really. Without them, I wouldn’t be here.

Inspiration behind the collection?
Old scrap books full of pictures like Elvis Presley and sleepovers.

Favourite outfit from the collection?
The last outfit – a jagged dress.

Claire Barrow

Claire Barrow

Your emotions right now?
Excited more than nervous. I know it was quite a beautiful collection.

What were the main themes of your collection?
It was called ‘Oh How it is to be Mundane’ because it’s about making the boring into something extraordinary.

Key pieces?
The leather accessories made like everyday objects as hats and bags. I did leather dolls as accessories too, because babies are quite boring things.

What does Fashion East mean to you?
It’s an incredible opportunity and a great honour. It’s helped me get stockists and launch my career, so I'll always be grateful to Fashion East.

Ryan Lo

Ryan Lo

You look a little tired…
I am! It feels quite surreal because I haven’t slept in days.

Who inspired the collection?
This season is about Ally McBeal and Bridget Jones. I was inspired by sexually frustrated women in pencil skirts, pussy-cat bow blouses and teddies. There’s a pyjama section.

What does Fashion East mean to you?
Without Fashion East I wouldn’t be where I am today. It’s great, people are prepared to help you for free – everyone pulls together.

Favourite outfit?
The pompom marabou number.

See our photos from backstage at Fashion East