Mark Fast, the 27-year-old knitwear designer, first came to the attention of the fashion insider following his degree collection shown in 2006. A graduate of Central Saint Martins – he went on to complete an MA course there, too – he is known for hand-finished, one-off pieces which cling to the body's every curve and where the intention is to create clothing that is as proudly individual as the people who choose to wear it.
Since 2008, Fast has had his own show at London Fashion Week to increasingly widespread critical acclaim – although last season's offering was eclipsed by the great "size-zero" debacle. Fast wanted to use larger models, and his stylist didn't. PR mayhem ensued. In the end, a rounder body shape prevailed. Now Fast says, not entirely unreasonably, "Let's just talk about the clothes". For spring/summer 2010, then, he was inspired by stills from the silent movies of the 1920s. "There was so much detail. You really don't see that now. Egyptian goddesses, tigers..." This was fused with more than a passing interest in Erin Brockovich, as played by Julia Roberts. "Especially her attitude, a woman who has kids, has a life beyond what she's known to do."
Born in Winnipeg, Fast travelled to London upon the advice of his teacher, who said that London was the place where it was all happening. It's certainly happening for Fast, whose designs, all extraordinarily complex and created on domestic knitting machines, sell at Browns, as always a reliable indicator of great fashion things to come. The nature of his work, which necessitates highly specific technical expertise, decrees that production is extremely limited. Fast's dream is to have his own factory "with, say, 30 domestic machines, where it's all couture and where we're in control. I don't think it can get quite big quite quickly, but that's fine."