When Browns first opened on South Molton street in the 70s, they used their retail platform to champion next-gen designers that were disrupting the industry; most noticeably done so when John Galliano's graduate collection was displayed in the store windows. In 1997, Browns Focus was created as an incubator for new talent globally, and championed designers such as Christopher Kane, Simone Rocha and Hussein Chalayan for years to come. This year, they're harking back to this initiative with a new group of designers to champion.

For their first instalment, womenswear designers Commission, Conner Ives, Maximilian Davis and Mariah Esa and menswear designers Bianca Saunders, Labrum, Ludeur, Saul Nash and TSAU Store have created an exclusive capsule for the iconic British retailer. Sold both online and in their new flagship on Brook Street – which includes an instillation to celebrate this enterprise – Browns have also worked with the designers to create unique digital content that speak of their experiences and their creative work, giving a 360 view of their respective brands. 

To celebrate the launch, we asked a few of the womenswear designers to share what advice they would give to other budding creatives who are trying to kickstart their brand.

Mariah Esa
"During my process of starting up, I've learnt a lot and I'm still learning along the way. I think a valuable lesson I have learnt is to not focus on what others are doing, or have done, at your stage. Focus on your own brand, travel at your own speed and do not be afraid to seek for help in areas where you do not have much understanding. 

Being a young designer, it has been extremely hard for many to build that ladder into the industry, especially with the pandemic. At the age of 17, I was told that fashion is not a career for me by my own college tutor, but now look at me; I'm 24 and launching a capsule collection with Browns!

From this, if I could give young designers one piece of advice, that would be to never give up; keep being persistent; don’t let a job rejection email keep you from applying to other roles. Be you, be bold, and don’t let anyone keep you from achieving your goal."

Shop Mariah Esa here.

Conner Ives
"I questioned whether or not I would launch a label for a long time. I had amazing opportunities that few rarely get, but I still questioned myself. But then I received the advice that I wouldn’t know until I tried. You work 20 hours a day and constantly feel like you’re being torn apart; but you’re doing what YOU want to do. That’s something you rarely get working for a larger company. For me, I had a real desire to want to change things. I felt I could do that best if I was in charge.

I think I received a lot of advice on how much work it would be. Whatever you picture that amount of work as; multiply it by 10 and that vaguely becomes what you spend a day doing. But in all honesty I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What is needed to succeed? Honesty! With yourself; your customer and your team. It’s not always going to be easy and certainly not a walk in the park. You shouldn’t fear this, but rather be honest with it so you're prepared to respond to it. Honesty is my main pursuit now. I’ve become so jaded by fashions affinity for lying. I don’t think it has a place in the industry anymore. If we want to see change for better, we need to approach it honestly and truthfully."

Shop Conner Ives here.

"The best advice that we received was to always tell your most personal and authentic story, faithfully and unapologetically."

"We believe it takes patience and consistency to succeed within fashion."

Shop Commission here.

Shop all the Browns Focus designers here.

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