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10 Must-Watch Fashion Designers for Young People

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There are so many fashion designers out there right now, and it can be tough to sort through them all.

There’s a designer for everyone out there – some cater to the older “ladies who lunch” crowd, while others would be best suited to dress your mom or grandmother. But one thing’s for sure – not all designers make clothes for young people! So which designers should you pay attention to if you’re a fashion foward teen or twenty-something?

Here’s a handy guide to my top 10 must-watch designers for young people. First let me say that they aren’t necessarily “young designers” (although many are), they’re just designers who appeal to a younger audience. There’s also no ranking here – the designers are listed in alphabetical order because I love them all equally!

All of the designers listed have something unique to offer, and I think you’ll agree that they’re all inspiring in different ways. Hopefully there’s something for everyone here.

*Photos courtesy of the always-amazing Style.com.

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen fashion

Always on the cutting edge, Alexander McQueen is an example of a designer that not everyone will “get”, but we all have to appreciate from an artistic perspective. His collections are examples of pure theatrics and artistry – truly architecture in clothing form.

Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang is probably my favorite designer on this list – if I could wear only one designer’s clothing every day, it would definitely be his. Every piece he designs is impeccably simple, but still edgy and fashion-forward. Alexander Wang’s work is proof that simple clothes don’t have to be boring, and that the beauty of clothing is in the details.

Balenciaga

Balenciaga fashion

I chose Balenciaga for this list because it’s one of the most modern and envelope-pushing fashion houses out there today. It’s been around since 1919, but has been transformed into a modern brand under creative director and fashion genius Nicolas Ghesquiere. Expect to be taken to another world when you check out a Balenciaga show. Maybe it’s not the most wearable fashion house, but it’s certainly one of the most inspiring, something we can all appreciate.

Betsey Johnson

Betsey Johnson fashion

How could I write about young, fun, fashion designers and not mention Betsey Johnson? She’s been rocking the fashion world with her exuberant, funky, and over-the-top styles for years now, and she’s got legions of loyal fans all over the world! Betsey’s clothes are always fun, sexy, and colorful, but they’re also really wearable and somewhat affordable as far as designer clothes go. What’s not to love?

Chloé

Chloe fashion

Chloé is a brand that’s made for a true girly girl – tons of chiffon, floaty dresses, and incredible shoes & accessories! Chloé has been around since 1952, but has experienced a huge resurgence in popularity over the past 10 years. The brand is responsible for the cult-classic Paddington bag that was such a huge hit a few years ago. The bag’s “it girl” status helped Chloé gain thousands of new fans and launched it as a popular fashion house among young people.

Erin Fetherston

Erin Fetherston fashion

I have to say – Erin is another one of my favorites on this list! She’s another example of a young designer who’s already become a huge force in the fashion industry with her girly and romantic clothes. Erin’s style is fierce yet understated with a hint of cute – I can definitely picture Blair from Gossip Girl for example wearing most of her stuff. Celebrities have picked up on Erin’s fabulousity as well – Zooey Deschanel and Kirsten Dunst are huge fans.

Luella Bartley

Luella fashion

I fell in love with London’s Luella Bartley about a year and a half ago and have faithfully followed her designs ever since. Her stuff is always very young, modern, and for the most part completely wearable. Luella’s looks are perfect for a younger demographic – after all, mini skirts, punk rock jackets, and comic book tees don’t work so well on most women over 35!

Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs

What list of fashion designers for young people would be complete without Marc Jacobs? He’s got millions of fans, is always on the cutting edge of what’s chic, and designs with young people in mind. While his main Marc Jacobs line is undeniably fabulous, the mass-market Marc by Marc Jacobs line is more suited to young fashionistas both in style and price. No matter which one of his lines is your favorite, it’s tough to deny that Marc is a serious fashion force among young people.

Proenza Schouler

Proenza Schouler fashion

If you’ve never seen Proenza Schouler’s designs, you don’t know what you’re missing! Designers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough met as Parsons students a few years ago and won the CFDA’s Perry Ellis Award for new talent in 2003. From there, the two went on to form Proenza Schouler, a brand that’s already on par with some of the best fashion houses in the world. Proenza Schouler’s look is young, minimalist, and a little bit mod. Their pieces are impeccably tailored and have incredible details. It’s a really sophisticated line that’s young at the same time.

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney fashion

Laid-back and effortless are two words I’d use to describe Stella McCartney’s signature look. Her clothes are always relaxed yet still so chic and luxe looking. She also mixes in a little bit of rock & roll which gives her clothes a youthful edge. My favorite thing about Stella’s line, though, is that she doesn’t use any animal products at all in her clothes. Even her shoes are made of plant products – no leather in sight!

Honorable Mentions

Here are some designers who didn’t quite make my list, but they’re certainly worth checking out as well.

* Chanel – Such a classic fashion house – of course I couldn’t leave Chanel completely off the list! It goes without saying that Chanel is a brand worth watching. After all, it’s got time on it’s side: 100 years old and chic the entire time? Even better, Chanel has the amazingness that is Karl Lagerfeld.

* Gucci – The “Gucci girl” is young, sexy, modern, and bold. While Gucci is an older fashion house in comparison to Proenza for example, it still caters to a younger demographic. If sexy’s your thing, Gucci is perfect for you.

* Dior – John Galliano is always envelope-pushing and inspiring – that’s reason enough to pay attention to Dior. You never know what you might see from him next.

* Calvin Klein – You might not think of Calvin Klein as a young brand, and in many ways it’s not. But I’d like to argue that Calvin is perfect for the girl who appreciates minimalism and wants to look more grown-up and chic. I’m personally a huge fan of designer Francisco Costa so I’m always checking out Calvin Klein’s looks to see what he comes up with.

Your Thoughts?

You’ve seen my picks for the must-watch designers for young people – now I want to hear yours.

I’m sure I left some people off this list, so I’d like to know who you’d add! Which designers make amazing clothes that you’d love to wear every day? Who makes the looks that inspire you? Leave a comment and discuss.

Posted on on January 12, 2009 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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40 Responses to “10 Must-Watch Fashion Designers for Young People”

  1. 1
    January 12th, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Rodarte!

  2. 2
    January 12th, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    where’s Jenny Humphrey? lol lame joke

    Great list, are these pictures all from Spring fashion shows?

    as always, i loved reading this! :]

  3. 3
    January 12th, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    michelle – Aaah, I forgot about Rodarte! Definitely a great addition to the list.

    Alyssa – They’re actually pictures from the last 3 seasons – spring ’09, fall ’08, and a few from spring ’08. I wanted to show an accurate picture of the designer’s most recent looks.

  4. 4
    January 12th, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Ralph Lauren!

  5. 5
    January 12th, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    Great list! I agree with all of these pretty much. Although I would include Philip Lim (I love his designs to death!).

  6. 6
    January 12th, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Marchesa.

  7. 7
    January 12th, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Oh, and loveee Zac Posen.

  8. 8
    January 12th, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    awesome list — but i’d have added tory burch, her styles are so universal yet very fresh!

  9. 9
    January 12th, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    Alexander Wang all the way!

  10. 10
    January 12th, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Just read he is your favorite on the list too, awesome! I also really like Luella.

  11. 11
    January 12th, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    philip lim
    zac posen
    bcbg maxaria

  12. 12
    January 12th, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    Great list! I recently fell in love with Luella Bartley. And of course, Marc Jacobs is a favorite & great addition to the list. I would also have liked to seen Zac Posen on the list but I know he’s also one of your faves so I won’t hold it against you!!

    BTW, I was reading one of your older articles the other day and took your advice and bought the ‘Fashion Game Book’ from Amazon. It came in the mail today and I’m already in love with it… THANK YOU!

  13. 13
    January 12th, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    Zac Posen should definitely be on the list!

  14. 14
    January 13th, 2009 at 12:08 am

    vivien westwood. she is simply AMAZING.

  15. 15
    January 13th, 2009 at 3:52 am

    I’m with LuLu What about Ralph Lauren? I love that you said Calvin Klein and No his brand is not just for the older crowd I know many people in their early 20s to early 30s that wear Calving Klein. Who cares how old you are as long as you like it wear it!

  16. 16
    January 13th, 2009 at 5:33 am

    totally agree with you on everything!

    i loooove alexander wang. and marc jacobs as well! they’re my ultimate favourites!

    =)

  17. 17
    January 13th, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Adolfo Dominguez!!
    it’s awesome!! but I actually agreed with your entire list! MArc Jacobs is the best and I haven’t heard about Proenza but I’ll definitely gonna check it out… Cheers!

  18. 18
    January 13th, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    List looks great! Just came across your blog on twitter and I am loving it so far. Also just spreading the great news I got a LOCKHEART Giselle handbag for christmas and I am loving it. It is the trendy college girls dream cause I can carry my notebooks and lap top in it but its a super cool and unique bag. I think Lockheart is def a handbag designer college students should watch out for – I am in love!

  19. 19
    January 13th, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    I really love Chloe and Stella McCartney I think they are my favorite designers of all time – the simple classy but very girly girl. If i could i would wear chloe and stella every single day of my life.
    Another artist you should mention is LANVIN – i love their dresses!

  20. 20
    January 13th, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Um… Helloooo? Zac Posen and Milly are pretty damn good too!

  21. 21
    January 13th, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    As far as young designers go, I would have to throw a vote in for Vena Cava. I think they are undeniably fabulous and they’re clothing seems really wearable even if it’s a designer label.

    I also have to say Ralph Lauren. His style is purely classic Americana, and while it might be construed as “stuffy” the man has continuously been able to deliver new ideas without tarnishing the Ralph Lauren “image.” I think if there is ever a fashion genius creating clothing it would be Ralph.

  22. 22
    January 14th, 2009 at 10:19 am

    I’m glad to see my suggestion made the list! (Alexander Wang) We think alike in terms of coveting his entire collection!)

    This is a great compilation:)

  23. 23
    January 14th, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    I love Gucci and Chanel, even though they may be for the slightly older demographic, especially Chanel. I love the accessories more than anything, accessories can suit you at any age, and I often need inspiration for slightly more older-looking outfits as my school requires us to wear suits. My personal favourites are: Balmain, Boy by Band of Outsiders, Giorgio Armani, House of Holland, Marchesa and Moschino. Balmain appeals to my rock-chick side, while Band of Outsiders my simple and androdgynous side (even though I myself can’t carry off androdgynous). And while House of Holland and Marchesa may not exactly be clothes you’d wear on any old occasion, who can resist a beautiful Marchesa dress?

  24. 24
    January 14th, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Jenn – Yay! I’m so glad you like the book, I’m obsessed too! As someone with NO fashion classes available at my school, it’s a must-have for me.

    Lo – Ralph Lauren is another amazing designer! His stuff isn’t really my personal style but I have to say, RL has definitely stood the test of time & continues to be huge with millions of people!

    Kat – Aahhh Marchesa. I wouldn’t call them a brand specifically for young people but their dresses are so fantastic. Definitely worth mentioning!

  25. 25
    January 15th, 2009 at 12:23 am

    I absolutely adore
    charlotte ronson

  26. 26
    January 15th, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Some of my favourites for the younger end of fashion-followers

    Miu Miu
    Moschino
    Jean Paul Gaultier
    Lanvin (the definition of femininity!)
    Sonia Rykiel
    Just Cavalli
    Dolce & Gabanna

    But can’t help but add how wonderful these are:

    Givenchy
    Donna Karan
    Valentino

    I think Chanel has a more of an old, classic feel. I don’t think it’s always so appropriate for those youthful, energetic, and daring.

  27. 27
    January 15th, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    I agree with k, what about bcbg maxaria? I especially love their sweaters and cardigans, they’re just so well-constructed and girly. Also, I know DKNY is generally for a slightly older demographic, but some of their basic pieces are great for adding a touch of sophistication.

  28. 28
    January 15th, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    D&G and Just Cavalli should be on the list… I have a hard time picturing anyone over 30ish wearing those clothes

  29. 29
    January 17th, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Armani and Tommy Hilfiger. How could that NOT be mentioned? The fragrances, bags and looks are timeless.

  30. 30
    January 19th, 2009 at 1:01 am

    Michelle Mason is amazing I love everything that she designs.

  31. 31
    January 29th, 2009 at 10:24 am

    I think Nanette Lepore should be added. Her spring runway is fabulous…and it is a fashion house that is chic and affordable for younger women. I love the floral, flowing prints…very Spring 2009!

  32. 32
    February 8th, 2009 at 6:43 am

    I LOVEEEEEEE NEW BRITISH DESIGNER EYOLA!!!

    New designer but I think in few months she’ll emerge gracefully and soon rule the fashion scene

  33. 33
    February 8th, 2009 at 6:49 am

    yeah katy eyola’s pretty cool jst saw the site i love london fashion especially its artistic and more unique items even british designers/british trained galianno etc they have such unique flair emmmmm yeah love the Japanesse also tres deconstructive chic….eyola is a mustwatch designer for young and older omen though same goes for omost british designers they have that ability to design for a huge generation without being too safe with exceptions stella and luella tho i love them anyway

  34. 34
    February 24th, 2009 at 8:57 am

    I love, love, love Luella!

  35. 35
    April 1st, 2009 at 5:09 am

    I prefer absolutely MARIE BISHARA!!
    I have deeply respect for a woman who can do this all and comes from an Arabic country (Egypt) and still makes modern, beautiful and sophisticated fashion.
    Especially her last show at PFW March 09, oelala I LOVE IT :)

  36. 36
    May 24th, 2009 at 12:20 am

    Hey! What about Zac Posen or DKNY?
    And SOME CH desings are very young and fresh… some.

    But I surely have to take my hat off for Alexander McQueen, a real fashion genius!

  37. 37
    April 1st, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Let us not forget Thakoon!

  38. 38
    July 13th, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    i’d say Ralph Lauren shouldn’t be forgotten either…… !!! :)

  39. 39
    December 3rd, 2011 at 12:45 am

    it inspiring me

  40. 40
    December 3rd, 2011 at 12:47 am

    your disigner is inspiring me. thank you

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