Dai Rees, 32, began his professional career as a welder of wheelchairs and medical aids. After completing an MA in ceramics, he started welding again: but this time he used metal, bone and leather to make jewellery for Alexander McQueen and Julien Macdonald. A year on, Rees has his own label, prestigious stockists and three collections. "I'll never make a plate again," he says.
LARA BOEING 747
Lara's real name is Bohinc, but after much confusion, the 25-year-old Slovenian-born jewellery designer - who loves aeroplanes - changed it to Boeing 747. Boeing graduated from the RCA last summer, began working with Pearce Fionda, then set up her own label, which she describes as "fantasy, fun and the future". Her aim? "I want people to wear exciting things again."
Vanja Strock and Nargess Gharani are both 27, and have been friends for 14 years; at school they dreamt of being fashion designers. "We have the same taste in everything," says Strock. They have specialized in floaty, bohemian womenswear indicative of their Croatian and Iranian roots for five seasons, so were delighted at finally winning New Generation recognition.
This is Giovanna Palmiero's second own-label collection of womenswear (for a time she worked with Rebecca Earley as Earley Palmiero), and it stays true to her minimal but womanly style. At 26, she now feels ready to give her label everything. "I went straight into design without thinking, but now I realise success is not just about pretty clothes; you need a business plan too."
Manchester-born Williamson, 25, graduated from Central St Martins three years ago, and freelanced for Monsoon before going it alone. Last October his first collection made an instant impression on the fashion pack: top stores in London and New York bought his finely beaded, embroidered dresses, and model Amber Valletta was so happy with her shift she called personally to thank him. Williamson probably leads the NG pack: he's the only one to get his own show. !
Main picture: ostrich-feather headband hat, from a selection by Dai Rees (enq: 0171 359 4874)
Above left: beaded peacock-feather shift dress, from a selection by Matthew Williamson (enq: 0171 831 1506)
Above right: paisley tie-shoulder dress, from a selection by Gharani Strock (enq: 01932 830500); mulberry suede ankle-strap shoe, pounds 262, to order from Jimmy Choo (enq: 0171 235 6008)
Below: glass-bead necklace, from a selection by Lara Boeing 747 (enq: 0171 336 7588); white V-neck top, from a selection by Palmiero (enq: 0171 354 8350)
PHOTOGRAPHS BY VIKKI JACKMAN
STYLING BY CHARLIE HARRINGTON
MAKE-UP BY ALEX BABSKY AT MANDY COAKLEY
MODEL: ANNICA AT SELECT