Over the past decade, the fashion industry has said farewell to many industry legends, including Vivienne Westwood, Virgil Abloh, Issey Miyake, Karl Lagerfeld, Hubert De Givenchy, Azzedine Alaia, Alexander McQueen, Kenzo Takada, and may other giants are approaching their 90’s it’s fair to say we will be soon adding to this list.
But over the same decade we have seen the rise of many new names that have made a significant impact on the way we dress and think about fashion. These breakout stars have become household names and have established themselves as some of the most influential figures in the industry. Here are the top 10 fashion breakout stars of the last decade:
1. Pharrell Williams
If star power and clout is anything to be rated by, then Pharrell Williams heads my list. Pharrell is an acclaimed American musician, producer, and fashion designer who had already made a major impact on the fashion industry over the past decade. Williams has collaborated with several major brands, including Adidas and Chanel, and has launched his own fashion lines, including Billionaire Boys Club and Icecream. His designs are characterised by their playful and colourful aesthetic, and he has been praised for his ability to blend streetwear and high fashion, exactly the same way Virgil Abloh did.
But nothing that came before can hold a candle to Pharrell’s debut as Louis Vuitton Men’s creative director as he debuted his first collection in Paris on the 20th of June 2023.
Runway debuts don’t get much bigger than Pharrell’s first Louis Vuitton collection.
If you expected mere spectacle, you underestimated Pharrell: the LV artistic director took over Paris’ historic Pont Neuf bridge with a backup band, gospel choir, and a veritable army of models draped in Pharrell’s new LV menswear designs.
Pharrell’s Louis Vuitton show wasn’t just a blow-out event, it was an almost unfair beginning to a fairly stacked Paris Fashion Week. How can the other luxury labels scheduled to present in the following days ever hope to compare?
The clothes had to compete with the star power on display, as Pharrell’s mates showed up in force. That is to say, Beyoncé, JAY-Z, Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Lewis Hamilton, and Takashi Murakami all sat front row while Pharrell’s musical peers, ranging from Dave to a reunited Clipse (Pusha T and Malice), strode the makeshift runway.
It wasn’t just an epic show taking over Paris’ most iconic and oldest bridge the Pont Neuf, it was a spectacle. There was an orchestra, and an all dancing Gospel choir. The entire soundtrack was produced and written by Williams. No showing off there.
The 100 or so LV looks mostly focused mostly on tailoring, with clothes cut relatively trim — in comparison to the hugely baggy Louis Vuitton looks of yesteryear — and occasionally accented by crystals or studs.
But any emphasis on formality was undercut by boxy leather car coats, blazers cropped to waist-length, and military-inspired overcoats that recall ghillie suits with their cut-out detailing, drenched in Pharrell’s new “Damoflauge” (Damier pattern pixelish camouflage).
This was history in the making as William stepped into the huge shoes left by Virgil Abloh, and made it look like he was destined for it.
2. Marine Serre
Marine Serre is a French fashion designer who gained global recognition for her crescent moon print, which has become a signature of her brand. Serre was awarded the prestigious LVMH Prize in 2017, and her designs have been worn by celebrities like Beyoncé and Kendall Jenner. Serre’s designs are characterized by their futuristic and eco-conscious approach, and she has been vocal about her commitment to sustainability.
3. Simon Porte Jacquemus
Simon Porte Jacquemus is a French fashion designer and founder of the brand Jacquemus. Jacquemus is known for its playful and feminine designs, and the brand has become a favorite among fashion insiders and celebrities alike. Jacquemus has been credited with helping to define the “French girl” aesthetic, and his designs are characterized by their effortless chic.
4. Kerby Jean-Raymond
Kerby Jean-Raymond is a Haitian-American fashion designer and founder of the brand Pyer Moss. Jean-Raymond has been praised for his socially conscious designs, which often explore issues of race and identity. His shows have been hailed as some of the most powerful and impactful in the industry, and he has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.
5. Grace Wales Bonner
Grace Wales Bonner is a British fashion designer who explores black identity and culture through her eponymous label, Wales Bonner. Wales Bonner has been praised for its thoughtful and nuanced approach to race and gender, and the brand has become a favorite among fashion insiders and intellectuals. Wales Bonner has won several prestigious awards, including the LVMH Prize in 2016.
6. Matthew Williams
Matthew Williams is an American fashion designer and founder of the brand 1017 ALYX 9SM. Williams has collaborated with several major brands, including Nike, Dior, and Moncler, and his designs are characterized by their futuristic and industrial aesthetic. Williams has been named one of the most innovative designers of his generation, and his brand has become a favorite among streetwear enthusiasts and fashion insiders.
7. Peter Do
Peter Do is a Vietnamese-American fashion designer and founder of the brand Peter Do. Do’s designs are characterized by their minimalist and sculptural aesthetic, and the brand has been worn by celebrities like Zendaya. Do has been praised for his attention to detail and his ability to create garments that are both functional and beautiful.
8. Rok Hwang
Rok Hwang is a Korean fashion designer and founder of the brand Rokh. Hwang has worked for several major fashion houses, including Céline and Louis Vuitton, before launching his own brand. Rokh’s designs are characterised by their innovative and unexpected details, and the brand has become a favorite among fashion insiders and critics.
9. Batsheva Hay
Born and raised in Israel, Batsheva Hay moved to the United States in her early twenties to pursue a career in law. However, her passion for fashion eventually led her to change course and start her own clothing line. Today, she is recognized as one of the most exciting and visionary designers working in the industry.
Hay’s signature aesthetic is characterised by a unique blend of vintage-inspired silhouettes and contemporary fabrics and prints. Her designs often feature puffed sleeves, high necks, and voluminous skirts, which are reminiscent of the prairie dresses popularized in the late 19th century. However, Hay’s use of bold colors, playful patterns, and unexpected details gives her clothing a distinctly modern feel.
In addition to her innovative designs, Hay is also committed to sustainability and ethical production. She has stated that she believes fashion has a responsibility to be environmentally conscious and socially responsible, and she has made a concerted effort to ensure that her production methods are as sustainable as possible. This includes using organic and recycled materials, reducing waste through careful pattern-making, and ensuring that her production facilities meet high ethical standards.
Despite her success, Hay remains committed to her core values and is constantly pushing herself to do better.
In a 2019 interview with Vogue, she stated, “I feel like I’m always learning. There’s always something new to discover, some new way to approach design or sustainability or whatever it is. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’ve ‘made it.'”
Hay’s dedication to sustainability, innovation, and inclusivity has made her a role model for aspiring designers and fashion enthusiasts around the world. Her unique vision and commitment to social responsibility have helped to redefine what it means to be a fashion designer in the 21st century, and her influence is sure to be felt for years to come.
Subscribe to FIB’s Weekly Breaking News Report for your weekly dose of music, fashion and pop culture news!