Style | Need To Now

Outlet villages give young talent a platform

Rising young fashion designers pop up in Italy and Belgium

Outlet villages give young talent a platform

October 20 2011
Avril Groom

The habit of outlet sources helping fledgling designers by giving them space to sell excess stock and samples seems to be spreading. For the past two years, Italian Vogue has made a selection of 25 international new names and thrown the prestigious Who’s On Next party during Milan Fashion Week to show their new collections to the world’s press and buyers. This time it has linked with Chic Outlet Shopping’s Fidenza Village, not far away, to give this same group a pop-up selling platform, The Talent Store, which opens on Thursday October 20 and will continue till the end of the year.

This is good both for designers – who boost their small businesses with proceeds from items they could not otherwise afford to take on upmarket space to sell – and for consumers, who get adventurous, often unique pieces at up to 50 per cent of normal retail prices from designers at the start of their upward trajectory.

A trip to Fidenza is likely to prove more rewarding, in fashion-forward terms, than a tour of Milan’s mega-brands. Italian Vogue casts its net widely: apart from a large local contingent and other Europeans (Tint, A-Lab, Michael Sontag and Paolo Errico are all interesting modernists), there are fashion ranges from Vietnam and Turkey, beautiful leather handbags from Brazil, eyewear from New York and fabulous Italian shoes, including some by Gaetano Perrone (pictured).

British-based designers include Simone Rocha, daughter of John and a rising star for her graphic mixes of tough and delicate, Elliot Atkinson’s boyish simplicity and print, and Camilla Skovgaard’s elegantly kick-ass shoes.

Meanwhile, Value Retail, the company behind both villages, has its own designer project at its Maasmechelen Village in Belgium, where 10 youngsters selected by the famed Flanders Fashion Institute are competing to design one-off bespoke accessories. Winners get up to €4,000 and the items are being auctioned on Friday October 21, with the proceeds helping to alleviate poverty in Kenya and Rwanda. A unique fashion piece that does good seems a pretty neat concept.