It’s no secret that, with its top-ranked fashion colleges and numerous young designer initiatives, London is home to many of the industry’s hottest emerging talents. But most up-and-comers don’t have the resources, or the funding, to get their work out into the fash-o-sphere right after finishing a high-profile design degree. That’s where 26-year-old Megan Wray Schertler comes in. The New York-born London-based editor has launched Varsity London, an online publication that showcases the city’s graduate collections for the world to see. “The fashion industry’s fascination with London’s graduates is bigger than simply discovering the next big designer,” she said, noting that graduates from schools like Central Saint Martins, the Royal College of Art, and the London College of Fashion don’t always launch their own lines — many go on to work at globally-esteemed fashion houses like Lanvin, Donna Karan, and Max Mara. “These schools produce the majority of manpower that fuels the fashion industry. And I realized that, to produce an archive of each year of London’s M.A. fashion graduates would literally take a snapshot of the future of fashion on a much broader spectrum.”
Varsity London does just that. Its inaugural issue includes catwalk images and unique photo shoots from 66 graduate collections. Focusing on the above-mentioned colleges, the magazine’s range of talents runs the gamut. It spotlights high-concept designers, like CSM’s Craig Green, who won the L’Oreal Professional Creative award for his sculptural menswear looks; promising knitwear talents, like RCA’s Apu Jan; print mavens, like CSM’s Charlotte Helyar; and designers with a commercial edge, like LCF’s Minja el Hage.
The first comprehensive publication to focus on graduate collections, Varsity London is a veritable look book for fashion’s next generation. And the project, which Schertler hopes to take global in the near future, provides new designers with a much-needed platform to show their work to buyers, industry insiders, and consumers alike. “We wanted the issue to present an opportunity for [the designers] to have their work represented exactly as they wanted,” explained Schertler, who’s a CSM grad herself. “The magazine exists solely to support the designers it showcases, so hopefully [they can] connect with potential sponsors and employers,” she said. “That, to me, would make this project a success.”
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