This story originally appeared in i-D’s The Homegrown Issue, no. 355, Spring 2019.
Maxine Beiny, designer
Maxine Beiny is one of the most fun young talents to emerge from London’s fashion scene recently. Her designs combine sheer layers with funky sloganeering and a moody dose of teenage angst – “sexy and desperate” is how she describes the unique and engaging fashion world she’s created. Her spring/summer 19 collection was a tribute to the tired office worker desperate to be noticed by a handsome boss. The Maxine Beiny woman is all about being “strong, sexy and slutty. She’s a woman in control and in charge,” Maxine explains. A sense of humour and joy runs throughout everything Maxine has done with her eponymous line since graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2014. Not that everything is easy being a young designer. In fact according to Maxine, “everything is difficult about being a young designer”. Case in point, right now Maxine is “deciding what she wants for lunch” and “what she’s going to design for next season,” which is never easy. Oh and “It’s aquarius season baby! So I’m going to spend the rest of the day looking at memes.” Fair enough, Maxine!
Text Felix Petty
Matthew Needham, designer
Central Saint Martins MA student Matthew Needham believes trash will save us all. The young designer makes fierce fashion out of environmental waste, fly-tipped rubbish and upcycled luxury fashion deadstock. He is part of a new wave of young designers concerned by the environmental impact of fashion and determined to do something about it, challenging the industry to be inventive and exciting in their approach to sustainable fashion by creating wild, crazy, wearable garments that keep you looking great while also saving the planet. “As young creatives, we have the platform and the freedom to make noise and fight for what we believe to be the right thing to do,” he says. Matthew was inspired to do things a little differently after interning at luxury fashion houses in Paris during his BA course, shocked at the level of waste emanating from the ateliers. “Working in Paris was the first time that I saw the enormity of the waste that was being produced in the industry, and understood the extent to which brands weren’t dealing with the problem,” he explains. Fashion, and the environment, are in safe hands with Matthew and his generation of fashion creators, the industry are finally waking up to the problem and determined to do something about it. “Over the past two to three years there has been a new appreciation of creatives who are dealing with the global issue of waste. We have the platform and the freedom to make noise and fight for what we believe is the right thing to do. It’s imperative we act now.”
Text Steve Salter
Jordan Robson, dancer
There’s an alchemy to a good fashion image that demands much more than a photographer and stylist. Jordan Robson is a 24-year-old dancer who blends fashion with movement to create deeper, more provocative meaning on the pages of a magazine and the runways of fashion week. Catching the attention of Tim Walker one day, while dancing for Theo Adams Company, the Newcastle native was enlisted to shoot with Emma Watson for Vanity Fair.“Dance and fashion are both mediums of expression. I work with people and their bodies in the hope of portraying a narrative and a feeling in ways that haven’t been explored before.” Since, he’s rapidly become one of the industry’s most in-demand artists. Working with Vogue, Dust,L’Officiel, a frequent collaborator of Charles Jeffrey, and a nominee for The Fashion Awards’s ‘New Wave’ of Creatives, Jordan has bridged two worlds to create something totally unique. His advice to those looking to do the same? “Find what drives you, pursue it and adapt with it.”
Text Ryan White
Sarah Small, casting director
Sarah Small grew up in Harrow and studied Fashion Communication and Promotion at Central Saint Martins. It was during her second year of uni that an unexpected career path opened up, after meeting Madde Østlie, who runs AAMO, a casting agency that specialises in finding unique new faces through street casting. “I was broke and looking for some work, when a friend introduced me to Madde. She’s a legend. She took me under her wing and I worked with AAMO throughout the rest of my degree.” Being successful at street casting does take a certain frame of mind. “You’ve got to have a thick skin! People will reject you and think you’re a weirdo, or they’ll be lovely and really grateful. I’m actually really quiet and used to find it difficult to approach people but that’s gone out the window. It’s all about making people feel comfortable. If you go up to someone with a face like a slapped arse nobody’s going to want to talk to you.” Sarah’s very sound advice for those wanting to work in the industry? “Don’t go into a career in fashion with a comparative frame of mind. I’ve wasted so much time looking at what other people are doing and it’s so draining. Enjoy the pace you’re going at because there’s no rush.”
Text Clementine de Pressigny
Joyce Ng, photographer
Joyce Ng grew up in Hong Kong, among the city’s endless malls, claustrophobic skyscrapers and bustling streets. “Hong Kong is where I learnt to observe people,” Joyce says, “Observation is in my blood, where I get the most energy to feed into my photography.” And like Hong Kong – a city of “visual overstimulation” – Joyce Ng’s photographs are full of surreal naturalism. She has a natural talent for crafting joyous and original compositions, an eye for humour and drama. But growing up in Hong Kong, Joyce didn’t, at first, want to be a photographer (even right now, she says her dream job is to “open a Hong Kongese restaurant in Beirut” with her friends in the city). Moving to London at 17 and studying at Central Saint Martins, it was a “process of creative elimination”, from production, art direction and casting, until she stepped behind the lens. She was “intimidated by the responsibilities of being a photographer” until her friend, Hanna Moon, encouraged her to buy a camera, and guided her through it. The friends are now two of most exciting names in fashion photography, and have just opened a joint exhibition, English As A Second Language, at Somerset House. The title references their displacement as Asians in London, and such cross cultural pollination, outsiderness even, is at the heart of what makes Joyce’s photography feel so new. She’s travelled across Asia, the Middle East and Africa to shoot, but for all the places that her work has taken her, and will in the future, the most exciting thing at the moment is the pleasure of having an exhibition with her best friend, and having her mum in town, “so I don’t have to cook a single meal!”
Text Felix Petty
Anne Sophie Costa, make-up artist
Anne Sophie Costa is the make-up artist behind some of your favourite fashion imagery. Originally from Portugal, Anne moved to Lisbon to study graphic design, and started to do a few freelance jobs on the side. “I went for a hair styling job. Things started to get a little chaotic on the day, and somehow I ended up doing a model’s make-up.” Clearly, the background in design paid off, as the head make-up artist was impressed. “By the end of the day, I had a phone call asking if I could assist her at Lisbon Fashion Week!” A couple of years later and Anne Sophie moved to London. “Basic English, low money, learning to adapt in a totally different culture, but it was worth it to follow my dream,” she says. Now she’s got the industry on lock down and a roster of illustrious collaborators. “I am a very sensitive and intuitive person, most of my looks come intuitively, feeling the model and the vibe of the shoot and what character we want to build. I look at my make-up kit to see what I have, and start putting pieces together from there.”
Text Ryan White
Katie Burnett, stylist
Katie Burnett’s earliest fashion memory is unexpected, an obsession with cowboys aged about six. “I must have worn cowboy boots every day that year,” she says. Katie is from a small, conservative town in Missouri, where she spent her time “drawing, painting and making things” – a creative upbringing that shapes her approach to styling to this day. It was a chance encounter with a shoot by Paolo Roversi that changed her path. “It was on a trip to London during my first year of college, I had no idea who he was but the pictures were riveting and created such a strong impression on me. I dropped out of college and moved to London to study fashion.” Katie has a sculptural sensuality to her work, and a gorgeous ability to turn fashion into something abstract, beautiful and powerful. “I’ve always been inspired by shape, abstract figures, and movement. I try to create an aesthetic that is unique and timeless, but not too serious and still playful. Being part of the creative process and bringing an image to life is something I feel so lucky to do everyday, I really have no complaints.”
Text Felix Petty
Sam Rock, photographer
Sam Rock has just got back from a job in Mexico. It seems this photographer is always on the move, but his well-stamped passport is the reward for being one of fashion’s most in demand young talents. Sam’s skill behind the lens is obvious to all, a natural eye for dramatic composition and a singular use of colour. His uniqueness stems from influences as diverse as Tracey Emin’s Why I Never Became A Dancer and Raymond Carver’s When Water Comes Together With Other Water. “I love it when a body of work doesn’t immediately interest me… but then one aspect, a title, a figure, a caption, brings everything together and suddenly it makes sense and the whole piece feels substantial and powerful.” There’s something a little nostalgic about Sam’s photography, but his subject matter is firmly rooted in the here and now – most recently for i-D he travelled across Britain to document the country on the eve of Brexit. His work has appeared everywhere from M Le Monde to 1 Granary, and he’s done commercial work for the clients as diverse as Adidas and Erdem. Not bad for someone who was only inspired to pursue photography fulltime after he “nearly took a job in a plastic bottle factory in Selby” and realised he needed to do something else with his life.
Text Felix Petty
Rhea Dillon, photographer and filmmaker
Rhea Dillon diates calm. It comes across both in person and through the London-based photographer, filmmaker and visual artist’s elegant, intimate work. She describes her aesthetic as “spiritual, subverting and subconscious,” and with a common thread of honesty, uses her art to explore black existence and politics in the hope of bringing about change. Inspired by conceptual artist Adrian Piper, The Black Audio Film Collective and her grandma Joyce (“the most headstrong person ever”), the Central Saint Martins graduate struggles to explain what attracts her to a subject. “Some people just have an energy about them that draws you in,” she says. “I’m a big fan of energy instinct.” Her latest film, Process, is a beautiful study on natural hair; while 2018’s Black Angel – a collaboration with agender LA brand No Sesso – was a meditation on themes of restraint, freedom and identity of people of colour in an increasingly right-wing America. “I met some of the best people I know through making that film,” she says. “No Sesso family or die.”
Text Frankie Dunn
Jordan Hemingway, photographer
Ego bores Jordan Hemingway. For the fashion photographer, the importance the industry places on who someone is should instead be placed on the beauty of the work they create. “We don’t need anymore people trying to take over the world,” he says. “What we need is more people working together.” Jordan’s attitude is as refreshing as his take on traditional fashion photography. His images challenge our traditional stereotypes of beauty, celebrating fetish-wear, 70s horror B-movies, outer-space and glam rock. Jordan’s photos make you look twice, as all good photography should. “We’re so oversaturated with visual stimulation that I find people struggling to concentrate,” Jordan explains. “We’re asked to make things so short that the image or film tells the whole story at first glance. Given how much we see everyday, the care and need for quality has been diminished in this throwaway culture. It seems to be about creating and putting things out for the sake of it and not at all about the quality or content of what is being shared. It’s boring.” What to do with a photographic culture that’s boring? Make work that’s anything but. And that’s exactly what he does.
Text Roisin Lanigan
Zachary Chick, photographer
Brooding Texan photographer Zachary Chick lives in New York. His respective homes have taught him, he says, “constant cognitive dissonance. They sharpen my sense of reality by bumping together. They really are two opposing bubbles I hold simultaneously.” He’s drawn to subjects who share a message, no matter the art form, of inclusion and togetherness, and captures them young, fun, free. In such an oversaturated industry, how does Zachary ensure he stands out? “I’m just trying to make sense of it all,” he says. “I believe that if we can be patient and conscientious with what we’re making, there’s a chance of creating something worth remembering in a deep sea of scrolling.” And it sounds like he might have just about done it. “My current project has been quite life-changing,” he says. “It’s had such an impact on my style and artistic philosophy. I shouldn’t say too much, other than it’s about borders. Walls can’t keep out ideas.”
Text Frankie Dunn
Photography Olivia Rose
Styling Ai Kamoshita
Hair Adam Garland using Bumble and bumble. Make-up Emma Regan using Surratt Beauty. Photography assistance Zelie Lockhart and Jay Kammy. Styling assistance Hannah Hetherington and Ayaka Matsuda. Production Rachel Macbeth.
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.