Mr Porter has announced the launch of three collections from the hand-selected designers of Mr Porter Futures, the brand’s global designer mentorship program, in partnership with buy now/pay later shopping app Klarna. The designers are Manaaki, Miles Leon and Saif Ud Deen. Each was selected as part of an anonymous judging process. Over 1,000 entries were submitted from 77 countries judged by a panel that included Mr Porter Buying Director Sam Kershaw, Mr Porter Style Director Olie Arnold, designer Reese Cooper, stylist and creative director Julia Ragolia, BEAMS & Co director Tatsuo Hino, designer Nicholas Daley and Judith Tolley, a business and leadership coach for creative founders.
Dropping exclusively on Mr Porter today, these collection launches are the culmination of a design and business mentorship program lasting more than a year that has included workshops in brand, marketing, product range, cash flow and intellectual property. Practical experience and training were gained in collaboration with the in-house Mr Porter team, where they received tutelage in all aspects of realizing their initial designs into finished collections. Direct experience in factories and sessions with sustainability consultancy Create Sustain gave an understanding to the intricacies of exploring how to take each collection from designer sketch to final garment.
Inspired by her Māori heritage and taking influence from cultural moments in the 1970s, New Zealander Kat Tua has created a spirited collection featuring her own hand-drawn prints, sports-inflected jersey and an unconventional approach to denim. The result has a vintage feel expressed in a modern way. Key pieces include the Tahi Leather pant and Kai denim tracksuit set and the collection incorporates a vibrant palette of jade, dusky pinks and washed indigo. The collection includes 27 pieces with prices from $95-935.
Saif Ud Deen
Manchester-based designer Saif Ud Deen’s designs explore the relationship between faith and fashion and how they intertwine with the urban environment. He blurs the lines of traditional Islamic attire by mixing in contemporary silhouettes that are functional and technically engineered, creating a high specification collection that sits at the intersection of luxury and contemporary street style drawing from his unique perspective. Garments are multifunctional with every facet serving a purpose – padded gilets are removable from outerwear and long-line coats and shirts can be zipped apart to create shorter versions. The palette is in muted tones of black, olive and grey with jersey pieces in accents of soft pink and blue. The collection includes 12 pieces with prices from $125-1,800.
Ryan Edmonds and Julian Canda, a design duo from Portland, Oregon, have cultivated Miles Leon, a label that takes inspiration from the natural world. Rooted in the physical and metaphorical elements of the garden, Miles Leon looks to be the space in between. Blending workwear with a sartorial presence emphasizes the importance of duality in the collection, with clothing that lives with us in the everyday moments of life. With an emphasis on natural materials, the brand uses European craft in combination with beautiful and considered fabrics such as organic cottons and recycled wools. The duo elevates functional menswear staples such as the cable-knit sweater and single-pleated trouser with a colour palette of neutrals and deliberate pops of colour. The collection includes 15 pieces with prices from $275-1,000.
Mr Porter Futures provides a two-season commitment to each designer, with Mr Porter meeting the costs of the production, sampling and shipping for the development. Each designer and design duo receives 50% of net profits, and continued mentorship and support from the broader Mr Porter team.
Klarna has donated a £10,000 (just over USD 12,000) award to each designer or design duo to help establish and grow their business. This follows Klarna’s ongoing commitment to small businesses across the UK which saw the company launch a £3m support package and accelerator programme to help small businesses recover and grow post the pandemic.
“Mr Porter Futures was borne from discussions we had in the business regarding how we could support diversity and inclusivity at a grass roots level, encouraging anyone who had an idea for a collection to submit them,” says Sam Kershaw, Buying Director, Mr Porter. “The fact that all entrants were judged anonymously was hugely important and we are incredibly privileged to have selected three brands that are unique and should appeal to the modern man. The immense amount of hard work, dedication, and effort to realize the collections is a true testament to the teams at Mr Porter and external industry mentors who devised an in depth, practical course in fashion design and manufacture. That we now launch three fully set-up brands, Manaaki, Miles Leon and Saif Ud Deen is testament to their hard work and group effort. I am delighted that Mr Porter champions such talent.”
AJ Coyne, Head of Global Brand and Creative, Klarna, adds, “It’s been such a pleasure being part of the inaugural Mr Porter Futures mentorship programme to support designers championing sustainability with such vision. At Klarna, we are passionate about protecting the planet, and want to champion design talent creating positive change, which is particularly challenging in a post-pandemic world. We can’t wait to work with the designers and to see their final collections.”