Chopova Lowena London Fashion Week SS23 Runway

Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena-Irons’ eponymous label, Chopova Lowena, is a brand new name on London Fashion Week’s physical schedule. Since the spring of 2020, the rising duo has made a name for itself for appearing to not take itself seriously, while actually taking the fashion industry very seriously. Through sustainability, and thus upcycling, Chopova Lowena lends itself well to the world of mishmash design, referencing everything from the Middle Ages and ice hockey to traditional Bulgarian prints, crystals and soft billowing fabrics that float in the wind. It’s this combination that has made the new designer label an instant hit and instantly recognizable – the skirts, loved by all, are seen en masse on the waists of fashion week goers as they twirl around.

With this, Chopova Lowena promises joy; a frivolous nature centered around carefree attitudes and self-expression. The duo’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection, titled ‘Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose’, opened with the audience shrouded in darkness. The mania for a sound clip soon transitioned to heavy punk music, in turn setting the tone for the show. Held inside Porchester Hall – a decadent atmosphere clad in wood paneling and draped in red velvet – Chopova Lowena’s first runway show created a sense of nostalgic calm before it had even started.

But how wrong we were. “Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose” played on Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena-Irons’ Bulgarian roots: “When you see a rose, you smell a rose,” says Chopova. “The ideas we use in the collection give the same kind of signal.” Here Chopova refers to two ideals; Bulgaria’s central Rose Valley, which sees villagers in Kazanlak choose their Rose Queen, and the SS23 collection itself.

Injected with their heritage and a strange sense of beauty, along with a touch of lacrosse, the show was a festival like Bulgaria’s own. Per a festival, it’s about unity. Embraced by the ribbon-tied dresses, highlighted by handmade macramé necklaces intertwined with healing crystals, SS23 plays on native traditions, something seen as passé in the rest of the world, but actually firmly rooted in cultural notions.

The heritage is heightened with the use of Bulgarian textiles that form skirts and waistcoats, but don’t mistake any of this for thinking that Chopova Lowena’s playfulness has gone awry.

Instead, we got a full frontal view of punk mayhem. From tinsel sweater vests to oversized safety pins connecting midriffs to jeans, plaid pleated skirts to literal translations of the rose printed across white denim two-pieces, SS23 screamed energy and anarchy. Children’s toys were plastered over semi-sheer tops, clinging smoothly to the body, the graphics on the work pants were equally infantile in the most charming ways, and a general lack of gender norms combined to put a smile on the face of the beholder.

Chopova Lowena has put her attention on brand identity in recent seasons, focusing on becoming a name without the need for a show. Now feels like the right time. With the past two hectic years, it only feels right that the duo’s SS23 runway delivered the inner angst many of us have been holding back.

Take a look at the London Fashion Week SS23 presentation from Chopova Lowena above, and see more LFW content on Hypebeast here, as well as @HypebeastUK.

For more standout shows, check out the SS23 collection from Edward Crutchley.

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