Designer Profiles

Big Lives is about discovery. We look at hundreds of designers each season to highlight a handful of brands we deeply believe in. We want you to know about them first, and help bring their stories to light.

Ready to Wear

Marianne Fassler

Marianne Fassler, Johannesburg Fashion Week designer, runs her creative workspace in South Africa. The collection is hand-cut, hand-beaded, hand-dyed, and crafted in-house in a sustainable and ethical way. Marianne describes South African fashion as able to bring “that undefinable magical thing that makes fashion glimmer, and brings you to some kind of emotion.” The collection is brought to the US exclusively through Big Lives.

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Rodebjer

Rodebjer was born in 1999 with Carin Rodebjer outfitting her close friends in Stockholm. It has since grown into one of Sweden’s most beloved brands. The collection is inspired by counterculture, feminism, film, art, and literature.

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Christine Alcalay

Christine Alcalay grew up with a sewing needle in her hand, immigrating to NYC from Vietnam at the age of 3. Designing clothes became her first love as she worked by her mother's side in factories. Having attended Parsons and interned with Christian Lacroix in Paris, Alcalay opened her Park Slope studio/shop in 2002 with an ultra-feminine, timeless sensibility.

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Carolina Ritzler

Carolina Ritzler’s never-ending source of inspiration is women. The pillar of each collection is the jumpsuit: the designer’s prized form of self-expression. She sees the jumpsuit as an ally—universal, elegant, and adaptable. Carolina’s atelier is located on la rue du Faubourg Poissonnière in Paris, where all her designs are conceived and crafted.

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Hansel From Basel

Los Angeles-based artist-turned-designer Hannah Byun created Hansel from Basel in 2007 as a way to apply a sense of much-needed zest to everyday legwear and casual knits. Originally inspired by Hannah’s childhood nickname (“Hansel”) and her fascination with Switzerland (therefore “from Basel”), the collection finds inspiration in every nook and cranny of life, from the mundane to the magical.

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Christian Wijnants

Christian Wijnants is an Antwerp-based fashion designer. Born in Brussels, Christian moved to Antwerp in 1996 to study fashion design at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. His graduate collection won the Dries Van Noten Award for best collection in 2000. After graduation, Christian presented his collection at the prestigious Festival d’Hyères, where it was awarded the Grand Prix and picked up by Colette. After working with Van Noten in Antwerp and Angelo Tarlazzi in Paris, Christian launched his eponymous label in 2003. His line is known for its innovative layered graphics and fresh colors translated into eloquent knitwear.

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Rumisu

Rumisu is a whimsical, Istanbul-based brand founded by sisters Pinar and Deniz. Their mission is to let their love and curiosity for beauty be a conduit for philanthropy and create a line of ethically manufactured design accessories that give back to their community of origin. All illustrations are original designs. Each piece has its own story, characters, inspiration, and color mood.

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Valentine Gauthier

Valentine Gauthier is a Parisian-based designer who launched her eponymous brand in 2007. Considered a “young Isabel Marant,” Valentine combines a unique background in geo-ethnology and fashion design, including her early experience at Maison Martin Margiela studios. Her line is far from "girly," but instead cool, relaxed, and easy to wear. Valentine’s process reflects an obsession with games of opposition, layering rough fabrics like wool and tweed with refined, transparent silks and lace.

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Odio Mimonet

Odio Mimonet, led by Creative Director Odion Oseni, has been leading Nigerian couture design for over 20 years. As a young designer, Odion sought to express her love for art through fashion design, reflected in the texture, structure, and fabrics of her pieces. Early on, she developed her trademark of strong Ankara and print themes. The goal of her brand is to “reflect beauty in the feminine form” because each woman is unique, and the clothes are meant to help enhance a woman’s beauty. Her style and designs inspire and liberate, as women across generations can express their own individuality and flair through her collection.

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GRAMMAR

GRAMMAR was founded in 2017 by designer Althea Simons. The brand’s catalyst came out of misfortune. In early 2016, Althea’s apartment building burned down and she lost all of her belongings. The difficulty she felt trying to replace her wardrobe led her to conclude that the perfect garments for her life did not yet exist. Althea decided apply her eye for detail and nuance to the challenge of creating the perfect white shirt. Her process is inspired by The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. & E.B. White. As Strunk & White created rules for concise, vigorous writing, GRAMMAR creates the foundational elements of a modern minimalist wardrobe. The brand’s core belief is that beauty lies within the individual; when clothing is comfortable and elegant, it allows one’s inner beauty to shine through. The collection is produced in NYC’s Garment District from 100% organic cotton sourced from an ethical producer in India.

Shoes

Nicole Saldana

Nicole Saldana, Opening Ceremony veteran turned entrepreneur, delivers the second season of her eponymous collection with Spring-Summer 2018. Her styles are named after her girlfriends, representing a collection as diverse as her loved ones.

Shoes

Huma Blanco

Huma Blanco is the debut collection from Adriana Crocco, third generation shoemaker and designer based in Lima. Her Peruvian-Italian heritage has led her to an appreciation for exquisite materials, construction, and textures reflected in her designs.

Shoes

byFAR

byFAR is a Bulgarian shoe brand founded by twins Valentina and Sabina, and their best friend Denitsa. The collection is inspired by Eastern European youth culture. The team travels between Australia and Europe designing and producing the collection, which is handmade in a small, family-run factory with Italian materials.

Shoes

Antolina

In search of her ancestors in Paraguay, designer Mariela Montiel discovered the Maka tribe and fell in love with their traditional weaving techniques. Mariela created Antolina to support the indigenous community and pay tribute to her roots. The exquisite woven material is 100% handmade by Maka women in Paraguay. Materials are then exported to Spain where the shoes are assembled employing the highest level of craftsmanship.

Jewelry

charXchen

charXchen represents an infatuation with wearable objects that keep secrets and tell stories. Citing Picasso and Brancusi as two of her favorite artists, designer Charlotte Chen takes inspiration from modernist painting and sculpture. Each piece is to be an everyday companion, gathering big and small experiences with you.

Jewelry

Jamie Joseph

Jamie Joseph transforms the most stunning stones into little works of art. Each stone is meticulously faceted with signature cutting techniques to bring out its unique natural characteristics and presence. Every piece is one-of-a-kind.

Jewelry

n+a new york

n+a new york was founded by sisters Noriko and Akiko Sugawara from Yokohama, Japan. Their designs reflect the subtle beauty of city life and nature—textures of rocks and leaves, cracks in subway walls, historic buildings—details that go unnoticed in the busy rush of daily life. All pieces are handcrafted and made-to-order in Tribeca.

Jewelry

JCH

JCH creates handmade accessories that have a clean and balanced aesthetic—organic, modern shapes, and a muted color palette. Radiant brass and gold evoke a sense of quiet endurance. Cotton materials nod to nautical and macramé knotting techniques. All pieces are conceived and produced by Brooklyn-based Jen Cogliantry.

Accessories

Von Drenik

Von Drenik embodies free-spirited creativity and modern functionality. After years in the Corporate world, designer Sorenne opted for a life of wanderlust. Her collection is inspired by travel, made in NYC, and finished by hand in a Portland, Oregon. Textiles are ethically sourced and made by artisans in India.

Accessories

Alice Noon

Alice Noon accessories are handmade in Seattle by self-taught designer Tiffany Eley, who named the line after her fearless, intelligent, and self-made great grandmother. Her bags are constructed from oil-tanned and Cheyenne pebbled leather, commonly used for motorcycle chaps, and suede.

Accessories

IMAGO-A

IMAGO-A was launched by South-Korean born, Brooklyn designer Yegang Yoo. Having worked for Rachel Comey and Hussein Chalayan, Yoo branched out on her own to create an accessories line built on sculptural shapes inspired by modern art and architecture.

Accessories

Marie Turnor

Marie Turnor is designed by Beth Goodman who studied art in London before attending FIT in New York. Beth is inspired by unexpected yet everyday objects. Her iconic clutch was conceived when Beth spotted a woman in Paris walking down the street with a paper bag in her hand.

Accessories

Hilo Sagrado

Hilo Sagrado uses design and technology to support artisans for greater social impact. This season, the rich cultural heritage of the Wayuu people (bordering Colombia and Venezuela) is carefully woven into each mochila. Wayuu Mochila bags are crocheted using a traditional technique passed through generations.

Accessories

La Filippine

La Filippine, designed by Julia Barba Baudlot, is inspired by a totemic fondness for sleek objects, combining Filipino craftsmanship and French sensibility. Julia’s line reflects her background and aesthetic, inspired by a desire to create delicate and graceful products out of indigenous Filipino materials; effortless, cool, and restrained French style; and an affinity for geometric and clean shapes.