Net-a-Porter, an e-commerce site that sells luxury goods, has announced six new designers to its ongoing The Vanguard mentorship program. Their collections have been added to the stock.
The designers of this edition are Renaissance Renaissance, Lukhanyo Madingi, Khiry Fine and Sindiso Khumalo. Interior items by Connor Ives, the illustrator, are also included. Each designer contributed their unique take on current ideas and sustainability through the selection process.
The program was launched in September 2018 and has attracted a large number of alumni, including Minju Kim, winner of Netflix’s Next in Fashion. According to the retailer, each participant is part of a mentorship program that focuses on helping fledgling designers grow their business and sartorial visions.
Cynthia Merhej, a Lebanese designer, is known for her couture-inspired clothing, including voluminous skirts and dresses. Recently graduated Connor Ives worked previously with Rihanna at Fenty. He focused on sustainability for his sportswear looks while Interior presented more refined staples.
The LVMH Prize finalists LukhanyoMdingi, SindisoKhumalo, both from Cape Town, collaborate closely with local communities to produce handwoven textiles as well as socially conscious production processes.
Jamel Mohammed, contemporary jeweller Khiry Fine is also included in the roundup. Mohammed’s designs have been seen on Michelle Obama, and are well-respected.
He stated that Kiry’s aesthetic was influenced by themes and shapes that are common in the global African diaspora. “Artistically, I want to be able to connect with my work and the social themes and processes that gave rise to it. The world of fine jewellery is changing, I believe. Customers are finding work from a wider range of designers and they are resonating with it.”