Rise & shine

Who will be the rising stars of 2005?

The Independent's experts in art, literature, fashion, politics, film, architecture, music, gardening, design, photography, food and sport offer their predictions
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Art by Michael Glover

Varda Caivano, 33, was snapped up by the Victoria Miro Gallery in London even before she graduated from the Royal College of Art in the summer of 2004. Her first solo show at the gallery is scheduled for May, which will represent a quite astonishing career trajectory: less than 12 months from graduate student to a solo show in the gallery which currently represents artists such as Chris Ofili, Peter Doig and Grayson Perry. Graham Crowley, her former professor at the Royal College of Art, has no doubt that she deserves it. "She's one hundred metres ahead of the rest," he said this week, "in her sense of art history, her intensity of commitment and her sheer intelligence."

Caivano, who is part Danish and part Italian on her father's side, and Argentinian on her mother's, grew up in Argentina, and now has a studio in Islington, where she makes densely worked abstract paintings of a fairly modest size in a decidedly post-Romantic tradition. Delicate, sensitive and intuitive, they seem like movements towards depictions of objects and landscapes which stop just short of their goal. "Painting for me is a way of questioning images," she comments, "where visible objects with a secret depth appear to reveal a kind of irrational truth."

Others to watch

Daniel Sinsel, 28. His wonderfully meticulous paintings of impossible objects in strange juxtaposition with each other look, in their crispness and sureness of touch, as if they might have been painted in the 18th century. But it is an 18th-century sensibility which has arrived here via an immersion in Surrealism. Sinsel will have his first solo show at Sadie Coles HQ next year. Barnaby Hosking, 26. As painting revives, so more recent innovations - video art for example - begin to look tired and repetitive. An exception to this is the work by Norwich-born video artist Barnaby Hosking. Hosking's videos fascinate and engage because he projects them on to velvet, and he makes videos in conjunction with objects - a painting for example - asking us to consider how one relates to the other. Simon Keenleyside, 29. A regular in group shows, Keenleyside makes fantastical landscape paintings based on remembered scenes from his upbringing in Essex. He paints woodlands; the painted surfaces are rich brash, excitable, bizarre. He is a young master of invented landscape.

Comedy by Julian Hall

Andrew Maxwell, 30.

However dubious the honour of winning Channel 4's Kings of Comedy may seem, there is no doubt that likeable Irish comedian Andrew Maxwell will continue to pick up acclaim from all quarters. The youthful Maxwell has already been performing for 12 years. This experience speaks for itself in his ability to mimic voices and movements, and also in his measured storytelling technique with which he tackles issues such as political ideology and even paedophilia fairly and intelligently. This style was shown off to great effect in his show, This Is My Hour, which won near universal acclaim in Edinburgh this year. Maxwell, a survivor from Channel 4's ill-fated RISE, is no stranger to television. Apart from a number of domestic credits he has appeared on Late Show with David Letterman in the US, a testimony to the width of his appeal. It won't be long before he gets a more permanent TV mooring and has the chance to develop his image.

Others to watch

Miles Jupp, 25, is currently in the last few days of a stadium tour of Scotland playing Archie the inventor, his character in the CBBC's Balamory. It was as another less agreeable toff in the 2003 Edinburgh hit, Gentleman Prefer Brogues, that he made his name on the comedy circuit. Jupp is planning a new solo show this year and promises to become as popular with adults as with children.

Alan Carr, 28. Think Kenneth Williams with Eric Morecambe's glasses and you get nearer to the image and charm of Alan Carr. Cheeky, gossipy and irreverent, Carr may not yet have the exposure of his namesake Jimmy, but his career is making an ever-upward movement. Since his last Edinburgh show in 2003 he has been signed up by one of the two big comedy agencies and is the regular warm-up for Jonathan Ross. Russell Howard, 24, possesses a boyish, infectious charm. He won the final of Channel 4's So You Think You're Funny aged 19 and it was only his fifth stand-up gig. Since then he has gone from strength to strength supporting Daniel Kitson on two national tours, and he was recently commissioned by Radio 1 to write and perform on the late-night comedy show, The Milk Run.

Architecture by Jay Merrick

Patrick Lynch, 35.

Lynch is one of the interesting new wave of Serious Young Men in British architecture. This particular SYM is rather protean in terms of what has influenced him, a curry-wolfing, card-carrying humanist and stream-of-consciousness conversationalist who's more likely to conflate the anguished existentialism of Talk Talk albums with crime novels and Waiting for Godot than bore for Britain on the middle-period buildings of Le Corbusier. The panoptic young intellectual has produced architecture of both rigorous modesty and rigorous, if not hilarious, experiment.

Lynch Architects' commissions began coming in 2000. A concrete apartment building, a translucent Hoxton penthouse, the Casa Vasseur (a private residence) north of Rome, even a beautifully incised flat tombstone designed to prolong the life of bouquets. They demonstrate a roughly articulated modernism: nothing flashy here. Lynch's East London Black Women's Organisation centre - recently destroyed in a fire - and the brilliant transformation of Marsh View, a black-boarded Norfolk bungalow, into an architectural Incredible Hulk show real confidence.

What Lynch brings to the table is a high- res scrutiny of the socio-historic grounds for architecture.

Others to watch

Tonkin Liu. Mike Tonkin, 44, and his Taiwanese wife Anna Liu, 39, have achieved lift-off in the past year, with award-winning buildings and public-realm projects. They deliver a spare modernism, concerned with the subtle effects of light and texture. They'll surely be asked to design an art gallery.

Luz Vargas, 45. I first encountered Vargas three years ago, when she was developing an intriguing, standardised helix-like form for buildings. Her fascination for geometry has finally been clocked by the architectural press, and her singular brand of architectural order has surfaced in the super-crisp makeover of a large law firm in Kennington. CJ Lim, 40. The boyish Malaysian professor based at London's Bartlett School of Architecture is the wild card in the pack. Lim is fascinated by Alice Through the Looking Glass and his extraordinary satirical visions made him the star of the British pavilion at this year's Venice Biennale. This may be the year his brilliant fictions crystallise into architecture.

Sport by Matt Tench

Christine Ohuruogu, 20, athlete. A member of the England under-19 netball team, this second eldest of seven children only decided to concentrate on athletics after winning a 400m bronze medal at the 2003 European Junior Championships. The decision was scarcely welcomed by her netball coach, who warned her that she would miss out on the opportunity of playing in the 2005 World Youth Championships in Florida.

She knocked seconds off her time before the Olympic trials in Manchester, where she astonished everyone by defeating a field that included the European bronze medallist, Lee McConnell, in a winning time of 50.98 seconds, well inside the Olympic qualifying mark of 51.50 seconds.

Stunned and tearful at the close, Ohuruogu admitted that she had no idea what the Olympic qualifying mark was before the race. "I didn't know what it was," she said. "But I thought if I could finish in the top four at least I could get a relay spot. That was my aim for this year."

That aim was revised in Athens, where the 20-year-old student - she is studying linguistics at University College, London - became the fifth fastest Briton of all time, clocking 50.50 to qualify from her heat.

Although she went out at the semi-final stage, the speed of her improvement and the assured manner of her performance at the highest level held out the clear hope that this powerful, naturally-talented athlete might emulate the achievement of Katharine Merry in 2000 by taking an Olympic medal at the Beijing Games of 2008.

Others to watch

Ryan Moore, 21, jockey. Ryan Moore started riding lessons at the age of four and was straddling thoroughbreds by the age of 10. Now 21, he is poised to push Kieren Fallon and Frankie Dettori all the way in the race for the 2005 Flat Jockeys' Championship. The only thing still required is the backing of a top stable.

Matthew Tait, 18, rugby union player. Tait's first taste of the ball at Newcastle is already the stuff of legend. Given his chance in Newcastle's last game of last season, he ran home a blistering try from well inside his own half. Now a regular in the team and a certainty for the 2005 England Elite Player squad, his team mate Jonny Wilkinson had this to say: "Matthew is a fantastic athlete. He's the player to watch [and] he's certainly made his mark during training."

Politics by Andrew Grice

Ed Balls, 37. This will be an important year in the rise and rise of Ed Balls, Gordon Brown's closest adviser for the past 10 years. He will swap his backroom role for front-line politics by becoming Labour MP for the rock-solid seat of Normanton in Yorkshire at the general election expected in May. Balls had to leave his Treasury perch, where he was chief economic adviser, after becoming a Labour candidate. But no one doubts that he is still in Brown's inner circle.

The Norwich City supporter is married to Yvette Cooper, a minister in John Prescott's office and MP for the neighbouring seat of Pontefract and Castleford. A potential rift looms between them after the election, when their respective constituencies are due to disappear under boundary changes.

His critics blame him for infusing Brown with Eurosceptic views and thwarting Tony Blair's plans to take Britain into the euro. They say he should stick to economics, at which he is brilliant, claiming he lacks political nous. But if, as expected, Brown succeeds Blair, there are many in Westminster who see him as a future Chancellor.

Others to watch

Liam Byrne, 33, was elected as Labour MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill at a tricky by-election last July which many expected the party to lose. The bright father of three, a Harvard MBA graduate, has already impressed Westminster watchers and is tipped as a future Cabinet minister - and possibly a Blairite rival to Ed Balls in a future Labour leadership election.

Theresa Villiers, 36.

One of the few rising women stars in the Conservative Party. A London member of the European Parliament, she'll be fighting the Tory-held seat of Chipping Barnet at the general election. Seen as bright, articulate and ambitious by colleagues, she will be the new Tory MP to watch after the election. A fast-track promotion beckons. Nick Clegg, 37, is among the brightest in a bunch of young Liberal Democrat modernisers who are likely to lead the party in future years. The 37-year-old former MEP is likely to become MP for Sheffield Hallam after the general election. Described as brainy, young, dynamic and personable, Clegg is a non-tribal figure who used to work for Leon Brittan, the former Tory minister, when he was a European Commissioner. He speaks five European languages and is well-placed to make the best of his new platform at Westminster.

Pop music by Fiona Sturges

Jem, 29. You can play gigs for years, you can get great reviews, you can even write a song for Madonna. But if you really want to make it big in the UK, you have to crack America first. This, at least, is how it worked out for the Welsh singer-songwriter student Jemma Griffiths, aka Jem. Early on in her career, Jem wrote a letter to Stevie Wonder in braille asking him to produce one of her songs. Alas, the soul legend never replied so instead she made friends with the music producer Guy Sigsworth. He was so impressed by her song "Nothing Fails" that he played it to Madonna, who promptly recorded it for her American Life album. Soon after, Jem decamped to Los Angeles, landed a record deal (with Dave Matthews' ATO label) and set about making her début, Finally Woken, a beguiling blend of soul, hip-hop and folk. Buoyed by an appearance on the soundtrack to the hip teen drama The O C, the album thrust her into the upper reaches of the American Billboard charts, selling 100,000 copies. With Finally Woken's UK release in February, Jem mania is only a matter of time.

Others to watch

Kano, 19. Hot on the heels of Dizzee Rascal comes East Ham's unfeasibly handsome Kane "Kano" Robinson, the latest rising star in London's grime firmament. His magnificently assured single "P's and Q's", released last month, revealed an MC and lyricist at the top of his game. With an album on the way this spring, 2005 is sure to be his year. The Rakes. If the success of The Libertines is anything to go by, the future looks rosy for these wry "pre-post-punks" in their mid-twenties from north London. Having already made waves with the singles "22 Grand Job" and "Strasbourg", they're now proving an exciting proposition on the live circuit, prompting comparisons to PiL, The Fall and Joy Division. Bright lights and degeneracy beckon.

Tyler James, 22. Is he too good to be true? Armed with boy-band good looks and a voice that suggests someone twice his age and experience, this gifted singer-songwriter offers a refreshing spin on the "nu-jazz" sound, infusing it with his distinctive soul-pop sensibilities. Excitable critics are already calling him the British Justin Timberlake. We can but hope.

Film by Roger Clarke

Karl Golden, 30, director.

Golden's début feature, The Honeymooners, was one of the most underrated films of 2004, a shrewd black comedy of disappointed love and people behaving very badly indeed. Despite his low public profile, Golden has caught the eye of many big shots in the business. He's been hired to helm a BBC Films production of a Patricia Highsmith story, the acerbic fundamentalist family satire People Who Knock on the Door. Filming starts this March in Canada and at present Danny Huston is attached to the project. There's also a late-summer production date pencilled in for his "campus comedy set in the north of England" which is being produced by Trainspotting's Andrew McDonald and DNA films. He currently has more than 10 film projects on his personal roster, including the first ever feature film to be produced by Rory Bremner's Vera Productions. Dublin-born and now based in Bethnal Green, Golden is nothing if not ambitious. "Directors only have a lifespan of 20 years," he tells me. Citing Neil Jordan and Stephen Frears as figures he'd like to emulate, he's certainly geared up for the long-haul career.

Others to watch

Emily Blunt, 21, actor.

Newcomer Emily Blunt caused quite a stir as the Sapphic teenager in Pawel Pawlikowski's outstanding My Summer of Love. Expect to see a good deal more of her in the extravagant US mini-series Empire, set in ancient Rome - and in a Stephen Poliakoff TV drama where she plays Bill Nighy's daughter. Emily is also cast in Who Killed Norma Bates with Ralph Fiennes, and dons a druggie mantle in Chasing Dragons, with Patrick Bergen. Both are being filmed this year.

Amma Asante, 35, actor, made a gritty début in the Swansea-set A Way of Life, which was released in November and attracted much favourable attention. Despite the very British and downbeat nature of the film, she's about to sign up with a US agent. Well-connected and ambitious, she's a talent to watch.

Saul Dibb, 23, director. With a soundtrack by Massive Attack and a stand-out performance by So Solid Crew's Ashley Walters, Saul Dibb's début feature Bullet Boy is pegged for release on 8 April. The story of two brothers and a street fight that escalates completely out of control, it's drawn admiring crits in festivals including Toronto. This will raise his profile considerably.

Books by Boyd Tonkin

Diana Evans, 33.

Eat your Home Counties hearts out, Private Eye scoffers. The great Neasden novel has arrived. Those of us raised in the much-mocked tracts of semi-detached London have taken heart from the shining wave of cosmopolitan-suburban fiction that began in Hanif Kureishi's Bromley. In Diana Evans's début novel, 26a, the Neasden of the 1980s becomes a place of mystery, fantasy, joy and - finally - of desolating melancholy. This is a haunting and cherishable story of family life, of London life and, above all, of that alien and secret planet we call childhood. Evans's depiction of the inseparable twins Georgia and Bessi, with their Nigerian mother and Derbyshire father, may draw on some autobiographical material. But it soon grows into a self-assured fictional world of irresistible warmth and charm, with an undertow of sadness that deepens towards tragedy. Diana Evans trained originally as a dancer, but later completed the celebrated MA course in creative writing at the University of East Anglia. 26a (published by Chatto & Windus in March) may at first attract glib comparisons with other books or authors, but - like every other hugely promising début - it sounds like nothing but itself.

Others to watch

Nick Laird, 29. Twin-track careers in poetry and fiction have become more common of late, and Nick Laird from Co Tyrone will emerge as a literary amphibian in 2005. In January, Faber will publish his first collection of verse, To a Fault. In May, Fourth Estate publishes his début novel, Utterly Monkey.

"Belle de Jour". The cult blog of this high-maintenance poule de luxe with a viciously elegant style has prompted an orgy of media guesswork about her identity. In January, Weidenfeld finally releases The Intimate Adventures of a London Call-Girl.

Malcolm Gladwell, 41. The British-born New Yorker writer saw his first book, The Tipping Point, become a prime example of its own theme. Blink, due from Allen Lane in February, focuses on our intuitive ability to know something, without knowing why we do.

Food by Caroline Stacey

Anthony Flinn, 24.

It's not "if" but "when" Anthony Flinn earns his first star from Michelin - the arbiter of excellence that chefs obsess about at this time of year. It could be later this month. Even if he has to wait another year he'll be no older than that other prodigy Marco Pierre White. Either way Flinn faces a challenge if he wants to keep his profile low; he's already resisted TV programme makers and publishers. Since May critics and diners have eaten his highly evolved dishes, like white onion risotto with Parmesan "air" and espresso, and duck breast with olive oil chocolate bon bon, with a chorus of lip-smacking and praise.

Only 8 years after leaving college Flinn has brought molecular gastronomy to Leeds in the restaurant he runs with his father, also Anthony, sister Holly and girlfriend Olga Garcia.

Anthony's offers this exceptional food without the pomp or prices that invariably go with star-seeking cooking. There was no build-up; young Flinn appeared as a fully formed, truly original chef, as if from nowhere. Well, actually from Spain, and the kitchen of the legendary Ferran Adria's El Bulli. Anthony's is booked up every Saturday night beyond March. All this within a year; think what Flinn can achieve in 2005. Anthony's, 19 Boar Lane, Leeds (0113 245 5922)

Others to watch

Ian Pengelley, 33.

His Nobu-like work caused a stir at Notting Hill's E&O and spots of TV cooking helped put the tow-haired chef's name and distinctive style about. In February, when he opens Pengelley's in the Carlton Tower Hotel, the Hong Kong born chef will be making an even greater impression with Asian-influenced dishes.

Rachel Humphrey, 26.

Cherchez la femme, goes up the cry. But women chefs rarely enter cooking competitions. Let alone win them, as Rachel Humphrey easily did when her kitchen prowess earned her the Academy of Culinary Arts award. Since then she has been promoted to senior sous chef at Le Gavroche.

Brett Graham, 25.

When the restaurant provisionally called The Point opens in March with Australian Brett Graham as its head chef, "It will be," he declares, "the best neighbourhood restaurant in London." We needn't doubt him. He's been groomed by The Square's Philip Howard, who sees a star-winner in the making. "He has phenomenal palate, he's a bloody good cook, energetic, and an annoyingly nice guy."

Classical Music by Michael Church

Matthew Wadsworth, 30.

Lutenist Matthew Wadsworth dazzles with his dexterity, yet this youthful Mancunian has an impediment. "I can see light and dark," he says, "and colour if it's very strong. But basically I'm blind, and always have been. Having no sight is absolutely no disadvantage for a musician." Was music always his ambition? "Not at all. I was obsessive as a child and I still am. What obsessed me at six was motorbikes. My parents bought me a crash helmet and a little machine and I scrambled round a field. I didn't fall off - with my disability you develop a good sense of balance."

At 16 he became the first blind guitar student at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester, and immediately set about expanding the braille repertoire. Graduating to the lute at the Royal Academy, he quickly emerged as a world-class player: the CDs he's now releasing of 17th-century music which he discovered in the archives are models of their kind. He is increasingly in demand as a recitalist and chamber player: next year he will tour America for the first time. And he's an ideal role model for the sight- and hearing-impaired children with whom he also works.

Others to watch

Alison Balsom, 26.

Having just formed her own ensemble, this trumpeter is rising fast. She trained at the Guildhall and the Paris Conservatoire, has mastered natural and piccolo trumpets, and has a repertoire ranging from Albinoni to the most avant garde commissions. As a BBC New Generation Artist she's about to be ubiquitious on Radio 3.

Matthew Rose, 26.

"Commanding" is an adjective usually reserved for performers with age and experience, but it's the one critics reach for most often when describing the voice and physical presence of this British bass. He ushered in the drama of Sweeney Todd; his sword-fighting galvanised Faust.

Amir Bisengaliev, 17.

He may still be a violin student at the Purcell School, but he's already begun a successful career. Born and bred in Kazakhstan, he gave his first concert at seven: at 13 he released his joyous début CD of virtuoso pieces. The Romantic Virtuoso stuff is where he intends to make his mark, and I predict he will.

Photography by Nick Hall

Immo Klink, 32.

Always passionate about photography, German-born Klink originally came to London to study for an MA in business law. During this time he managed to get a job as Wolfgang Tillmans's studio manager. "I play in all fields," he says of his photographic work that covers editorial, fashion and art, "something I learnt from Wolfgang." He's involved with a network of artist-activists whose main aim is to reclaim public spaces from advertising and corporations. He's photographed Urban Climbing, Circle Line parties, Buy Nothing Day, World Bank and G8 summit protests. The last G8 meeting in Evian lead to his latest project on European communes in Spain, Italy and Wales. "I'm glad I studied law; it gave me a good understanding of society," he says, "plus, I know my rights." Klink has been chosen to show alongside Andreas Gursky, Boris Mikhailov, Luc Delahaye and Tracey Moffat at the inaugural Emergencies exhibition at the new Museum of Contemporary Art in Leon.

Others to watch

Joe Clark, 22.

A recent graduate from the University of Northumbria, Joe Clark featured in last year's Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition at The Barbican and has shown at the Sarah Myerscough Gallery in Mayfair. Working exclusively at night, his empty urban landscapes such as Vent and Ramp, Untitled (Trees near South Shields) or Untitled (Washing Line) might not sound like they'd set your heart racing but they're beautiful; graphic, dark, intriguing, like scenes from our dreams.

James Mollison, 31.

Kenyan-born Mollison will be exhibiting his stunning portraits from James and Other Apes (Chris Boot, £24.95) at The National History Museum (28 May - 18 September). These are beautiful, tightly cropped close-ups of apes' faces, each photographed as an individual, with a name and biography, begging us to question what separates them from man.

Martina Mullaney, 32.

She graduated from the Royal College of Art last summer and in March she has her first New York exhibition, inaugurating the new Yossi Milo Gallery, and will be showing Turn In, a series of minimalist large-scale colour photographs of night shelters and hostels for the homeless. She finds a melancholy beauty in sparse institutions.

Design & Interiors by Fiona Rattray

Peter Traag, 25.

Sometimes it only takes one chair to launch a design career. Within days of graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2003, Peter Traag received an e-mail from the famous Italian design company Edra, expressing an interest in manufacturing his prototype armchair. The London-based Dutch designer assumed it was a friend playing a joke: Edra makes some of the most iconic chair designs in the world. That kind of thing just doesn't happen to young designers, does it?

A few months later, at the 2004 Milan Furniture Fair, Edra unveiled Traag's Sponge chair (below) to an approving audience. The young designer found himself sharing the vast stand with two of the biggest names in furniture design: Italy's Francisco Binfaré and the Campana brothers of Brazil.

The reason for Edra's enthusiasm, I think, is simple. After years of retro-fixated, sleek-lined armchairs, the world is ready for something different. Over-exposure means that chairs which once had the cachet of exclusivity are fast losing their lustre. The fantastic thing about Traag's Sponge chair, is that thanks to its construction (as the foam expands to fill the mould, the loose fabric cover inside it is forced into folds) every chair is different. It's mass production, but with a thrilling element of originality and chance.

Beginner's luck? I doubt it. Traag is only 25, but his other designs are similarly accomplished. And Edra certainly doesn't think so - he's currently working on a new project for the Italian company. This year in Milan he will represent the best of young British designers in the Design Museum's show Great Brits: The New Alchemists. I'm sure he'll do us proud.

Others to watch

Onkar Singh Kular, 30.

This YBD grabbed the design world's attention with his Pantone tea mugs (pick the colour that matches your perfect brew). Look out for his latest work, inspired by famous TV armchairs, at London's Geffrye Museum in February.

Kirsty Carter, 25, and Emma Thomas, 25.

This graphic-design duo was responsible for a fair portion of the best post I received last year. Visit www.apracticeforeverydaylife.com to see what I mean: no throbbing icons, just stacks of clever, simply executed ideas. Kazuhiro Yamanaka, 33.

As well appearing in the V&A's Brilliant lighting show (and catching the eye of the great Ingo Maurer), of the London-based Japanese designer's slick new furniture designs. His is a name to remember.

Fashion by Susannah Frankel

Ann-Sofie Back, 33.

She's no newcomer to fashion. In fact, the designer graduated from the MA course at Central Saint Martins in 1998 but, like other talented members of her generation, has eschewed the publicity-seeking antics of her predecessors for a more gentle and business-like approach. If that makes her sound as though she should have taken up the post of chief designer at MaxMara, don't be fooled. It's worth noting that, while Back has never sold out by designing publicity-seeking, barely-there flash trash, her designs are far from conventional. A typical show begins with the finale - the designer takes her bows with the entire cast before a single outfit has been seen. Her signature is to question and ultimately subvert all things feminine, a philosophy she extends to the casting of her shows: Back doesn't employ traditional models, but uses friends and "real people" instead. Everything from visible panty lines to wet T-shirt competitions and the wardrobe of the transvestite has come under her critical gaze, inspiring garments that, though idiosyncratic, are increasingly beautiful in the traditional sense too.

Others to watch

Miki Fukai, 37, first came to the fashion industry's attention four seasons ago with a collection featuring patchwork clothing made out of the striped sleeve details of hundreds of 1970s tracksuits. She has since given the world sportswear-inspired pieces crafted in canary-yellow parachute silk, deconstructed knitwear and, new this season, possibly the world's most glamorous summer dungarees. Born and raised in Tokyo, Fukai worked as a stylist there before enrolling on a theatre-costume-design course at the London College of Fashion, followed by the MA fashion-design course at Central Saint Martins.

Sarah Swash, 25, and Toshio Yamanaka, 30.

The Central Saint Martins-trained design talent behind Swash won no less than three prizes at the prestigious Hyeres fashion festival in France earlier this year, following in the footsteps of Viktor & Rolf. The label débuted at the London collections in October, displaying a lightness of spirit and touch combined with a conceptual approach.

Gardening by Anna Pavord

Ceri Evans, 28, graduated with distinction in the summer after an intensive year-long course in garden design at the English Gardening School in London. The distinction was an unexpected bonus. So was her audition as a presenter on the upcoming TV show The Great Gardening Challenge. Not so unexpected for those who know her. She's been a model for almost 10 years. She looks good. She works out. "But I don't want to be seen as just another dumb blonde," she says forcefully. "I want to show that I really know my stuff." So having been "obsessed" with her garden since she acquired her first house seven years ago, she decided to turn a hobby into a career and make a radical change in her life. In gardening, that's not unusual. You only see the point of it when you've a plot of your own. People come to gardening and garden design as a second career when they've become disenchanted with their first. "I like to do things aimed at first-time buyers," she says. "Designs that are young, funky." Having parents who were draughtsmen, she is quite at home with a drawing board. Her only problem? She can't throw plants away.

Others to watch

Michael Owers, 23, is in the middle of a three-year careership scheme organised by the National Trust to train the head gardeners of the future. He left a job in sales and marketing to take up a place he was offered at Blickling, the National Trust property in Norfolk, where he works under the head gardener, Paul Underwood. Comparing his old job with his new, he says: "You don't get compliments in sales and marketing. Here, visitors are always saying how lovely the garden looks. It makes me feel good."

Aude de Liedekerke, 30. The glasshouses in the superb walled garden at West Dean gardens, near Chichester in West Sussex, are gardener Aude de Liedekerke's special responsibility. She's 30 and relishes the opportunity she now has to see plants through the whole of their growing lives. She worked previously as a florist with Harper and Toms; before that, she was in the fashion business. Would she go back to either of her old jobs? "Never," she says emphatically. "This is so much better."