The Daily is always on the lookout for the standout creatives of today (and tomorrow). So we’ve meticulously rounded up dozens of designers, photographers, models, beauty pros, influencers, and more currently on our radar — and soon, on yours, too. Ready to ride the new wave of talent that’s poised to shape 2019, in fashion and beyond? Meet the creative forces commanding our attention this season.
1. VICTORIA HAYES
Did you always want to be a designer?
I always loved fashion but told myself I wasn’t “allowed” to pursue it as a career choice — I thought it was too much of a risk. It took four years of pre-med classes in a hospital anatomy lab to admit to myself I was never going to pursue a career in medicine. I realized in pre-med that life is short. If you have the good fortune of doing what you enjoy, take the chance!
What inspired you to launch your own label?
I thought I’d work in the industry for several years as a designer before launching my own label, but my Canadian citizenship sort of forced my hand. A previous employer closed and I had to go back to school to stay in NYC, so I got my master’s from Pratt in design management. I designed collections in graduate school to build my portfolio and get press. The degree was a crash course in running a business; after graduating, I decided to continue working on collections, as opposed to working for someone else.
What’s your brand’s signature?
I’m focused on novelty suiting. I really don’t care about offering basics; plenty of people make great wardrobe staples. You come to me for outfits that ensure people see you coming from 30 feet away.
2. LAQUAN SMITH
Hails from Queens, NYC
Early education Smith’s grandma schooled him on sewing; he taught himself pattern-making by deconstructing Goodwill threads.
Signature aesthetic Ultra-sexy, glamorous, body-con, with lots of sheer and sparkles
Celeb fans Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé,Kim Kardashian, J.Lo, Ariana Grande, and Kendall Jenner
Designer icon Azzedine Alaïa
Last laugh “Parsons and FIT actually denied me admission back in the day, but they now invite me to talk to their students about perseverance,” Smith told Teen Vogue in 2016
3. JARNO LEPPANEN & KA WA KEY CHOW, KA WA KEY
How did you two meet?
KWKC: The classic way—dating apps! We did a project together—Jarno directed and choreographed my presentation. Everything worked well, and we decided to start running the brand together. We design everything together; I’m responsible for production, and Jarno focuses on communications and PR.
Did you always want to be designers?
KWKC: No, I had many different options before I actually started studying knitwear and fashion. I went to business college, where I got A’s; at some point, I really considered working in business.
JL: No, I wanted to be an actor!
Who’s your dream collaborator?
KWKC & JL: Ryan McGinley. We’d love to do photo shoots with him.
Which designers do you look up to?
KWKC: Vetements, because they challenge what fashion is.
JL: Rick Owens and the late Alexander McQueen. I love the theatricality of both.
4. KERBY JEAN-RAYMOND, PYER MOSS
Hails from Brooklyn
Going deep Past collections have explored hefty themes, like the Black Lives Matter movement, capitalism and greed, and mental illness.
Bold choice Hailed as “the hottest brand at NYFW” by Vanessa Friedman…he’s chosen not to show this season.
Name origins Pyer Moss, pronounced “Pierre Moss,” is a combo of the designer’s mother’s American and Haitian last names.
Trained at Marchesa, Kay Unger, Theory, Marc Jacobs
Bona fides FGI Rising Star Award, 2014; Forbes’ 30 Under 30, 2015; CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, 2018
Boss move Jean-Raymond bought out his business partners in 2017 and wholly owns the company. “It was just my name on the door and literally me doing all the work, but there was no upside for me or any reason to keep doing what I was doing. Now I’m doing exactly what I want to do, which is establishing Pyer Moss as more of culture than a clothing brand,” Moss told Fashionista in 2018.
Big deal The designer inked a splashy two-year contract with Reebok in 2017.
Unexpected cameos Erykah Badu styled his fall ’16 show; Rick Ross sat in his Spring ’17 front row
5. BRITTANY PELTZ, LEAH + RAE
What’s your astrological sign?
What’s your hometown?
What’s the aesthetic of Leah + RAE?
Romantic and dreamy, while still down-to-earth. Each piece is designed for movement, play, and dreaming—like my own daughters who are equal part princess and tomboy. I want to celebrate the natural beauty and unapologetic nature of children through my line. They are true to themselves, and I want their inner light to shine through each piece.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
Being a designer allows me to do everything I love and not split my heart in two. I’m most passionate about being a mother and that translates into my home and work life. Family is absolutely everything to me, and I feel so grateful that my girls can be so involved in everything I do.
Who are your most-trusted sounding boards?
Definitely my parents and my husband. Their different perspectives keep me grounded and inspired.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
With as many kids as God will give me! And running my business and a platform to connect mothers and children and allow me to give back in a meaningful way.
6. KIT KEENAN
How did your brand, KIT, come about?
It’s a project I started in my freshman year of college. I wanted to make high-quality, trend-resistant pieces defying fast fashion culture. We produce with attention to detail, in small quantities.
What have you learned about fashion from your mom, Cynthia Rowley?
The biggest lessons my mom has taught me about fashion really come down to business—how to be a girl boss and get s**t done. She’s taught me how to negotiate contracts, pick the right factory for a job, and persevere through cutting samples, even if it is 11 p.m. on a school night and my hands are callused from holding fabric scissors all day. I have never met anyone with the work ethic my mom has. I genuinely don’t even know if she sleeps!
Who are your style icons?
Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin, Twiggy, Naomi Campbell, and Jackie Kennedy, although the idea of a style icon has definitely changed a lot, with the rise of social media.