Mr Porter has announced the three successful menswear designers who will take part in the inaugural Mr Porter Futures global designer mentorship program in partnership with Klarna.
Each designer will receive the opportunity to build their own brand, design and produce a minimum 15-piece responsible collection to launch on Mr Porter, receive a 12-month bespoke high-level business incubation program, coaching sessions from leading industry mentors and 50 percent of the net profits generated from the sales of their collection on Mr Porter for 12 months.
Klarna will also donate a £10,000 award to each designer or design duo to help establish and grow their business following the program. This follows Klarna’s ongoing commitment to small businesses across the UK which saw the company launch a £3 million support package and accelerator program to help small businesses recover and grow post the pandemic in July.
Selected from thousands of entries from 77 countries around the world, the final designers include Kat Tua, Saif Ud Deen, and design duo Ryan Edmonds and Julian Canda.
Originally from New Zealand and now residing in Sydney, Australia, Tua has a decade’s worth of experience working as a product developer and designer for various fashion retailers. Keen to pursue a career as a solo designer, Tua quit her job at the end of 2020 to focus on developing her own range. The Mentor Selection Committee were highly impressed with Tua’s response to the design brief, which references her Maori heritage and takes inspiration from cultural movements in New Zealand in the 1970s.
A recent Fashion Design graduate from the University of Salford, based in Manchester, UK, Ud Deen is eager to establish his own brand and learn more about the business side of the industry. A practicing Muslim and third-generation British Pakistani, Ud Deen’s design work takes inspiration from his own lived experience. His concept, which explores the relationship between traditional Islamic attire and streetwear, caught the eye of the Mentor Selection Committee, who were impressed by its unique perspective on contemporary men’s style.
A design duo from Oregon, Edmonds and Canda met prior to the pandemic and have since collaborated on a joint project from their studio space in Portland. Edmonds and Canda’s concept, which takes inspiration from the natural world and garden, has a strong focus on craftsmanship through functional silhouettes and natural fabrics. The Mentor Selection Committee were excited by the duo’s attention to detail, their skillful application of classic tailoring techniques, and the commercial potential of their designs.
The designers will undergo a year-long program of in-person and remote workshops and one-to-one coaching, benefiting from access to leading mentors in the fashion industry alongside Mr Porter’s in-house team of buyers, designers, and creative and marketing experts. Beyond the mentoring and coaching, each designer will gain the essential marketing and retail skills required to build successful, standalone brands in an increasingly competitive marketplace, while also designing, developing, and delivering their very own responsible collections, through the support of the team behind Mr P., Mr Porter’s own-label, and consultancy Create Sustain. The collections will be made globally available on Mr Porter in September 2022.
“We are overwhelmed with the quantity and quality of applications received for our foundational year of Mr Porter Futures – it has been amazing to witness what great, untapped talent there is around the world,” said Sam Kershaw, buying director at Mr Porter. “We are excited to be working with Kat, Saif, Julian, and Ryan – all of whom impressed the Mentor Selection Committee with their vision, designs, and determination to shape their experience and deliver environmental and socially positive collections. We know that each designer has a bright future ahead of them and we’re thrilled to be able to play a part in their journey by propelling them onto Mr Porter’s global stage.”
“It’s been such a pleasure being part of the inaugural Mr Porter Futures mentorship program to support designers championing sustainability with such vision,” added AJ Coyne, head of global brand and creative at Klarna. “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.”
Applications for next year’s Mr Porter Futures program will open in March 2022. For more details and for directions to apply, please visit www.mrporter.com/futures.