10 Designers Who'll Be The Next Big Thing

Fashion Week isn't just about discovering your new YSL Tributes are really, really uncomfortable. Behind all the madness, there's a different sort of discovery—the thrill of finding a new designer who could be the next Wang or Proenza. And 10 of them? Frisson-central. We did our research and came up with a cheat-sheet of rising stars whose names you've got to memorize. Though they're all not quite household yet, to those in-the-know, these 10 young-guns are already generating a big buzz. Our list is democratic—fresh first timers stand next to already-profiled-in-Vogue lines; a Peter Som disciple might be uncomfortable sharing space with Gaga's go-to gal. But whether they're a few seasons old or fresh meat, each of our picks gives established names a run for their money. Study up now, or better yet buy…we know an investment when we see one.
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Check out 10 rising Fashion Week designers—with pics from their fall '11 collections—you need to know!
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Porter Grey

The sister-duo Porter Grey aren’t exactly brand spanking new, but for their first fully developed collection (and second Fashion Week presentation), they’ll certainly garner plenty of gossip. Or Gossip Girls, rather, since the collegiate knits and pleated skirts are feminine enough to be Serena Van Der Woodsen faves. Expect Porter Grey fans like Whitney Port to also be eyeing their show at the tents this year, too.
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Porter Grey
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Wes Gordon

Talk about distinctive influences—Georgia-born Wes Gordon left the US to complete his fashion training at the prestigious Central Saint Martins in the UK. The result is a British obsession with tailoring mixed with a sense of laid-back, down-south gentility. Slouchy smoking jackets meet impeccable collars, and every pleat is expertly and classically placed. Such sophistication—plus an appearance in Bergdorf’s fall catalogue—would almost make us forget Wes is only 25-years-old.
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Wes Gordon
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NAHM

The brainchild of Ally Hilfiger (daughter of Tommy) and Nary Manivong (the designer who gained attention for rising from homelessness to launch his own line), NAHM not only is made from the duo’s initials, but also translates to Nary’s native Laotian. Last season’s launch aced a difficult undertaking: the perfect shirtdress. We can’t wait to see what the duo does for spring.
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NAHM
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Nomia

An official closet staple for the downtown set, any Refinery 29 regular would know we’ve been coveting 27-year-old Yara Flinn’s cutting-edge designs since her fall 2010 lookbook. Cut-outs, mini-dresses, and asymmetry are Flinn’s trademark, perfect for adding just the right amount of ‘tude.
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Nomia
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Chadwick Bell

Chadwick Bell tackles structured masculinity with a Cali-born sense of simplicity, ultra-tailored wrap skirts, mature collarless jackets and sleek, belted detailing. Where young designers might approach menswear-inspired utilitarianism with a heap of pleats and pockets, Bell’s minimalism belies sophistication beyond the label’s three years.
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Chadwick Bell
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Sally LaPointe

While the silver dress that Lady Gaga wears as a wave washes over her in her video “Judas” is not exactly dinner wear (unless you are Ms. Germanotta), Sally LaPointe’s hype extends beyond the singer. Her Gaga creations do lean towards the avant-garde (including a coat or two made of hair) but LaPointe, now on its third season, does have some beautifully wearable pieces, too. Think deep-V, super-structured jackets or shimmery shifts atop leather pants, which are downtown without being impractical. Gaga business-wear, perhaps.
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Sally Lapointe
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Sunghee Bang

This Korean-born FIT graduate took first place in both her Associate and Bachelor’s final presentation, and landed NYC internships at Donna Karan, Peter Som and J. Mendel. Oh, and Alexander McQueen, too, meaning she’s officially as international as you can get. While you might miss out on her dramatic knits for spring '12, expect to see graphic prints and slouchy, luxe cottons when she debuts at Gen Art Fresh Faces in Fashion presented by smart car.
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Sunghee Bang
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M. Patmos

Like the rest of New York, we were bereft when Lutz and Patmos called it quits last year. But alas no more! Marcia Patmos is back, culling from her experience creating super effortless separates to design a line that we can (and should!) wear every day. A hint edgier than Lutz and Patmos, her namesake has ton of the slouch and style that we crave, and for summer, we predict breezy not-so-basics in lush weaves and materials.
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M. Patmos
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Prism

Prism’s Anna Laub has been doing the spring/summer thing for a while with her much-lauded eyewear, but spring '12 marks not only her first foray into New York Fashion Week, but a formal American introduction to her season-old Brit swimwear collection. Like her too-cool sunnies, her retro-futuristic one- and two-pieces are luxurious, design-conscious, and made for jet-setting.
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Prism
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Silvio Liu

New York-based label, New York-made garments, but a whole new look. The emerging brand is gathering hype for switching things up by adding young Aussie ingénue Vaughan Alexander as the new brain behind the label. Resort '12 saw Alexander’s first collection behind the helm, and he mixed airy pieces with subtle splashes of citrus color. For his first full season, editorial eyes will certainly be watching to see the Australian’s take on the edgy effortlessness of New York fashion.
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Silvio Liu
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