Simone Rocha x H&M | All roads lead to Fashion East

It’s always so exciting to see that electric moment, when a cult fashion brand makes the leap into the mainstream. And so it was this month with high street powerhouse H&M’s collaboration with Simone Rocha. How will the cult brand stay true to its ethos while serving a mass audience? How will they be able to hold their own with a massive retailer with global muscle?

These collaborations are also always eagerly-anticipated by millions of savvy shoppers worldwide, and this one between H&M and Simone Rocha didn’t disappoint.

As I watched the gorgeous augmented reality pop-up book experience that was sent out to celebrate the launch, I wondered, as always with successful creative entrepreneurs, how did Simone Rocha, with no business background, build this global brand?

Like so many other innovative fashion stories, hers leads back to Fashion East, that hyper fertile East London breeding ground for new fashion talent, founded in 2000 by fashion fairy godmother Lulu Kennedy. Simone Rocha got her start there in 2010. And when, prompted by Rocha’s big win, I stepped back and connected the dots, I was reminded, once again, of the massive creative influence of Fashion East.

I happened to have just recently stumbled upon the New York Times feature on groundbreaking new fashion talent Maximillian Davis. Where did he get his start? You guessed it, Fashion East.

That led me to thinking about iconic fashion designer Roksanda Ilincic, whom I interviewed at the Design Museum about her entrepreneurial journey, a designer who also had no business background. A formative early influence? Fashion East where she graduated from their programme.

As we celebrate the huge win’s of our most exciting creative talent, it’s so important to remember the game changing influences that helped them along the way – so that the next generation can see how it’s done – and also so that we can humbly tip our hat to those who have made it happen. In that regard, chapeau, Lulu Kennedy and Fashion East.