Meet The Must-Know Emgering Designers From WHITE Milano Fashion Exhibit
Including Studio PANSTERS, Risa Nakamura and Samanta Virginio.
Positioned during Milan Fashion Week, WHITE Milano is a dynamic industry event that showcases the industry’s top global talent and emerging designers. Season after season, the show entices international buyers and press to connect with the style of tomorrow and holds space for new voices to be celebrated on a global scale. This year from September 22-25, WHITE opened its doors in the Tortona Fashion District to present over 360 brands from near and far.
The brain behind the brand selection for the event is General Manager, Simona Severini. She got her start in fashion at a young age. When she got her degree she wanted to be a General Manager but didn’t necessarily know which industry. With a degree in Russian, she was soon sought after by a company to start working in their commercial department because of her knowledge of the language and culture. Afterwards, she quickly moved up the ranks working with the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier before meeting Massimiliano Bizzi, the founder of WHITE Milano, who asked her to join him to grow the trade show to a global scale.
When we asked her about her methodology for talent scouting across the world, she stated: “I try to find the right balance between new brands and new-gen designers because there is a difference. Of course, being in Italy, we are running the risk of being an Italian showcase so, I also wanted to expand internationally and meet a more global audience. ‘Made in Italy’ is good, we know, but we don’t have to define ourselves by this – we can look out for inspiration.”
As subcategories in fashion are constantly evolving it is also important to have a balanced approach to each fashion community, Severini explains “We want to create a showcase with a specific number from every fashion segment meaning classic, streetwear, avant garde etc. I don’t want to be siloed, I want to be trend agnostic. I strongly believe that every single buyer can join our showcase and find something for themselves.”
To complement the fair, EXPO WHITE also presented the Saudi100 Brands project, an initiative by the Fashion Commission aimed at showcasing Saudi Arabian fashion designers. At the fashion show designers’ collections were accompanied by a mesmerizing performance by dancers from Milan’s renowned Teatro alla Scala. Running from September 19-28, a curated selection of Saudi brands graced the shelves of the prestigious luxury concept store, 10 Corso Como.
As a part of the exhibition, WHITE highlights emerging designers in its “Secret Rooms,” a space dedicated to giving emerging designers a stage for their European debuts. From hand crafted wool making to sustainable accessories these are the designers you need to know from WHITE Milano.
Founded in 2023, Samanta Virginio is a women’s ready-to-wear brand with a rich blend of influences rooted in her dual Italian-American heritage. After graduating from Central Saint Martins, Virginio started her bran to create narratives about her travels between the Hamptons and the Dolomites, nature, city life and more. Committed to sustainability, Virginio works with Italian manufacturers with eco-friendly practice and offers one-of-a-kind pieces. For her SS24 collection, the designer transforms nature-inspired sketches into bespoke textiles. Stand out pieces from the collection include a bright yellow flower and multicolor knitwear.
Studio Pansters creates unique handmade garments through the art of weaving. Founded by Dutch designer Lieke Pansters, the brand’s unique hand made pieces are presented in a variety of garments to long sleeveless dresses and comfy sweaters. According to Pansters: “The pieces are an anthem to imperfection: traces of the maker’s hands are deliberately visible on them, they all follow the same design but are, by nature, all different from one another.” As for the technique, the designer first weaves each garment and then felts them by adding them to hot water and soap. The combinations of weave structures and varying degrees of shrinkage create new surface effects that are unique to the brand.
Risa Nakamura seamlessly blends contemporary with simplicity in its delicate hand crafted pieces. Japanese born and Italy based, Nakamura imparts her identity into the brand from Japanese tailoring to the soft linens used in a variety of her garments. Both elegant and bold in unison, Risa Nakamura has something for every style tribe whether it be lambswool coats, exaggerated silhouettes in “ottoman” silk or purposefully crinkled outwear.