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Young London Calling: Phoebe English

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London is a hotbed of young talent in fashion, and the city is known for supporting the young, the wild, and the penniless like few other fashion capitals. Just in time for London fashion week, Style.com checked in with three of the city’s most exciting emerging designers. Today, meet Phoebe English.

London learned of Phoebe English, 25, last season when she debuted her first collection of gothic black rubber and faux-hair goddess dresses down the Central Saint Martins M.A. catwalk. After winning the prestigious L’Oréal Professionel Creative Award, English graduated from the classroom to her own cozy white-walled studio in East London. While the designer has been one of the most talked-about new talents of the year, she nearly didn’t pursue fashion. “For a long time, I couldn’t decide between fashion and acting,” she says. “I spent a summer auditioning at drama schools across Britain and didn’t get into any of them, so I did a course at Saint Martins to see what it was like and never looked back.”

Judging by her Spring collection, English made the right choice. This season, the designer was inspired by the raw surroundings of her new studio, as well as her walk to work. “I walk here every day and that clumpy walking movement is really an inspiration for some of the shapes,” explains English. In an attempt to move away from what she describes as the “frenetic” fluidity of her last collection, which primarily featured eveningwear, English turns her focus to organic separates crafted out of tightly pleated, destroyed canvas. Having a background in knitwear, English’s Spring ’12 (mostly black) collection marks her first time using fabric rather than materials. In addition to her first show, English’s M.A. collection will be included in British-ish, a Giles Deacon-curated exhibition that runs throughout fashion week at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

Photos: Lucy Carr-Ellison

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