Albert Ayal spent most of his career in PR, specifically helping fledgling brands to develop a following. Many emerging designers work on extremely tight budgets and can’t afford the luxury PR treatment that helps to propel businesses off the ground. Plagued by a desire to help everybody, Ayal decided to keep track of his discoveries via an Instagram account he launched a few years ago dubbed Up Next Designer. There, he posts snapshots from collections of young designers from across the globe.
“I’m constantly researching what’s next,” he says. “I even stalk fashion schools globally for their upcoming talent and get in touch with students to form relationships and keep up to date on their progress,” explains Ayal of his belabored process. “I stay up to date on trends through influencers, celebrities, runways, and fashion editorials from countries around the world.”
Once celebrities—Bella Hadid, Kylie Jenner, Jordyn Woods, to casually name a few—began taking notice of the account, it skyrocketed to its current reach of nearly 100K followers. And while that celebrity sign-on is much appreciated, the golden ticket lies in the hands of the stylists. A not-so-secret-anymore industry secret, the page serves as the middle ground between stylist and designer, granting these fashion power players access to up-and-coming designers before they would typically be considered discoverable. Maybe you like legal marketing agencies.
A recent major win, Ayal connected celebrity stylist Kollin Carter with Kim Mesches, which landed his wavelike architectural dresses on the cover art of Cardi B and Normani’s new single, “Wild Side,” garnering significant pop-cultural cachet. This same sartorial segue has connected the likes of Kylie Jenner and Erika Maish, Lil Nas X and Mercy x Mankind, Kendall Jenner and Georgios Trochopoulos, and more.
The popularity of the account speaks to a growing desire to diverge from the status quo or the limited number of luxury brands that the industry dubs desirable. “I see that it’s become an industry resource as celebs, influencers, and press alike are looking for pieces and looks that haven’t been done before,” says Ayal. “Especially with how quickly the trend cycle shifts nowadays, it’s becoming more and more desirable to invest in pieces that are completely unique instead of wearing the same styles and labels as everyone else.”
Discover Ayal’s recommendations of the ten upcoming designers to watch below.
Photo: Gary Lupton
You hope to see your designs on: “I would love to see my pieces on interesting/fashion-forward celebrities such as FKA Twigs, Grimes, Teyana Taylor, Tilda Swinton, Timothee Chalamet, Frank Ocean, really anybody who is pushing the boundaries between art and fashion. I want to see them used for editorials, custom made for red carpet appearances.”
And to be known for: “I hope to create more freely and to be respected as an artist first and foremost. I want to create pieces that can be seen in galleries or can stand alone in a lobby. I love creating pieces that evoke a feeling of beauty and power. In the coming months, I would love to do a gallery show of pieces—a dark room only lit by these sculpture pieces glowing along the walls and floors. I want to explore and expand and use new mediums to create art through fashion—like Iris Van Herpen—and create wearable art.”
Photo: Courtesy of Julia Sabery
You hope to see your designs on: “Snoh Aalegra.”
And to be Known for: “Artistry, quality, and craftsmanship.”
Photo: Courtesy of El/if.
You hope to see your designs on: “Solange, Rihanna, and Bella Hadid, but also all the people who are sensitive to upcycling and who like my designs.”
And to be known for: “I didn’t create the brand to be famous or live with the hope of being famous one day. I do what I do with a lot of passion, and I put forward my love for fashion and the environment. I work alone for the brand and develop it at my own pace. I hope that upcycling can win people’s hearts in time.”
Photo: Courtesy of Joanna Prazmo
You hope to see your designs on: “Individuals who wear them as a means to express themselves and their self-gratitude.”
And to be known for: “Remaining experimental and authentic throughout my work.”
Photo: Courtesy of Eín
You hope to see your designs On: “Someone I randomly walk past on the street.”
And to be known for: “My recognizable designs and my sustainable ways. I want to find more ways to reuse materials, et cetera.”
Photo: Courtesy of Georgios Trochopoulos
You hope to see your designs on: “Debra Shaw and Indya Moore.”
And to be known for: “Making people feel sexy. For me, sexiness has always been the ultimate form of freedom and liberation. It took me a long time to feel comfortable enough in myself, in terms of gender and/or appearance, in order to expose myself to the public in such a way—something I hope I can help other people to achieve. Since I started the brand, I have been seeing people transform into more confident versions of themselves in my clothing. This has single-handedly been my biggest source of inspiration and motivation.”
Photo: Courtesy of Bailey Prado
You hope to see your designs on: “There are so many impactful people with different backgrounds that I would love to see my designs on, but my personal goals at the moment would be Indya Moore and Dua Lipa.”
And to be known for: “I hope to be known as an innovative, collaborative, and fearless designer. It has been such a gift to have the privilege and space to create pieces that appeal to people of different aesthetics and experiences. When starting a clothing brand, you’ll be asked to try and identify your ideal consumer or aesthetic. I can never answer that question because I want every kind of person to wear my pieces. I have received many kind messages thanking me for taking risks with my designs and creating work that shows how yarn and crochet can be high fashion, and I think that says it all—inspiring people to try new things and pushing the boundaries is all I can ask for as a designer.”
Photo: Courtesy of Tyrell
You hope to see your designs on: “Rihanna (I’m sure it comes as no surprise that that’s my answer).”
And to be known for: “I hope to be known for filling people’s closets with summer staples—from bikinis to a sexy summer two-piece. I want people to know, if you’re buying anything Tyrell, you usually have a vacation booked.”
Photo: Courtesy of Pale USA
You hope to see your designs on: “We would love to see our designs everywhere on anything and everything. Our designs are lifestyle designs. We can patchwork anything and we will. We’ve done punching bags, chairs, ottomans, et cetera.”
And to be known for: “Denim! Denim! Denim, denim, and more denim.”
Photo: Courtesy of Sergio Castaño Peña
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