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LFW: The rise of Richard Quinn...

Fashion is a difficult business and it can be hard to make it big, with many designers spending years struggling in such a cut throat world to make a name, or viable business for themselves. Richard Quinn is a designer that seems to have skipped this difficult period leading to success and has exploded into the fashion world in a relatively short period of time. He hasn’t only amassed huge recognition within the industry, but with public approval to boot. 

Richard Quinn is a designer that I have followed for a little while now, having learnt about his name, and talent with print back in late 2017 when he took part in H&M’s Design Award. Quinn is a London based designer who established his namesake label in 2016, upon graduating the Fashion MA at Central Saint Martins. He specializes in womenswear and his collections are bold and known to be emotive, creating a forward thinking unafraid vision. Richard creates garments with innovative fabrications, focusing on his ability to combine unique handcrafted skill with a refined high fashion sensibility. He has been highlighted as a designer to watch by LOVE Magazine, The New York Times, Sunday Times Style, Dazed and Confused, ID, 10 Magazine and Wonderland Magazine just to name a few. Plus his highly acclaimed MA 2016 collection had an incredible press response including the cover of ModernMatter Magazine shot by Juergen Teller which helped lead to his overnight success.

Following his H&M Design Award collection launch, which contained his already signature use of clashing floral prints and exaggerated proportions, I tried to pick up as many pieces as possible. I adored his use of colour and how he paired elegant pieces in such a youthful and modern way. Unfortunately due to high demand I only managed to purchase two pieces and once they were delivered I totally fell in love. I purchased a beautiful tulle scarf with green beading that read ‘I loved you first’ and I also managed to get the statement oversized coat made from a shell material, the coat I wore on day one of London Fashion Week in February 2018 during the AW18 collections. I knew the piece would be a statement and recognized as being Richard Quinn, however I had no idea what would happen in the days following.

It was the Friday, day one of LFW that I wore the coat, which was to great success with streetstyle photographers taking photos and many people asking me about the garment. I felt fabulous as I strutted around attending presentations and runway shows, and I even partied some of the night away with the dance floor light reflecting off the gowns shiny surface. The following day, with a little hangover, I hung the garment in my hotel closet, got dressed up for day two of fashion week and left as if nothing happened. I didn’t have an invite to Richard Quinn’s show that season, so did not realise he was showing towards the end of fashion week, but I sure knew about it when he did. After all his success and press attention it was hard to believe that this was only Quinn’s second collection since graduating from the Central Saint in 2016, but it was a show that went down in history, as the Queen herself sat front row. Her audience was requested by the British Fashion Council to present Quinn with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design, a royal stamp of approval the Peckham-based designer only found out he was receiving just weeks before his autumn/winter 2018 show.

Social media went wild with the buzz around Richard and his label, and of course, as I had just worn one of his statement pieces 3 days earlier, I got caught in the excitement. I had people offering insane amounts of money for the gown I had just worn, I did interviews myself, and I gossip with friends that managed to get into the show themselves. Richard was a star on the rise, and the queens attendance and the award she presented to him sealed success in the industry. Of course it was his raw talent and hard work to attributed to his success that got him where he is now, but to garner such praise in such a short period of time, in this industry, is rare!

I later sold my Richard Quinn H&M Designer Award piece, and used the money for something else. I do sometimes wonder why I sold it, but let’s face it, it was a statement piece that had just had its moment, and it was time it had a new life with someone else. Now fast forward to September 2018 to another busy season of London Fashion Week and Richard Quinn was still on everybody’s lips. My little social media fame from wearing his piece had now all disappeared, yet the excitement around him  and his new collection was electrifying. Myself, Saffy @StyleGrimoires and Raghav @StyledByRaghav somehow found ourselves caught in the excitement when were in the queue awaiting to be let into the show space at 180 The Strand. We were giddy with excitement that us little fashion insiders were about to get into one of the hottest shows of the season, with an audience that was full of the crème de la crème of fashion week elite.

His vision for Spring/Summer 2019, and his new collection, was yet another hit of the Quinn drug, this time in a darker, moodier colour palette yet retaining his feminine aesthetic. We saw dark satin and tulle on models wearing masks. Floral and bead twenties style dresses mixed with eighties silhouette dresses with contrasting floral tights walked the runway. We also saw animal prints mixed together in jackets, dresses and matching tights as well as feathers being used which we haven’t seen before from Quinn. Feather skirts, feather details on his dresses and jackets added texture and detail. The collection saw glamour take a dark, twist mixing elements and cuts from the twenties, fifties and eighties all with his signature use of print and layering.

Another killer collection of pieces to covet, and no doubt, with his raw talent, keen eye and huge success, we will be coveting his pieces for many years to come…