In WWD's first weekly newspaper, the first of their move away from daily papers, they introduced the WWD Six, a group of six designers who "have what it takes to be next-generation megapowers" WWD also credited a characteristic to each of them; Alexander Wang is the energizer, Chitose Abe is the enigma, The Row (Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen) are the quiet ones, Christopher Kane is the stargazer, Proenza Schouler (Jack McCollough and Larzaro Hernandez) are the originals, and J.W. Anderson is the thinker. WWD never fails to report the truth, these designers are everything they say to be and more. There are plenty of talented designers out there. To quote the article itself, "brilliant talent is not enough to guarantee success. Nor is having a cool head for business." No, it takes much more to have influence on society. You, of course, have to have the design and business talent, but you also need to understand your audience on a personal level. You have to know who they are and what they want and also why they want it. You have to give them clothes that they recognize with but are also fresh and new at the same time. That's a lot to balance, and these 6 designers have definitely got it figured out.
But this brilliant bunch reminded me of a similarly talented group, 30 years earlier. The Antwerp Six was a group of 6 six designers who graduated from Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the early 80's. The group consisted of Walter van Beirendonck, Ann Demeulemeester, Dries van Noten, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs, and Marina Yee, with Martin Margiela as a sort of 7th member. These designers were highly influential of the fashion scene at the time and caused Antwerp to breakthrough and become a major fashion location. These designers are all accomplished in their own respects and each have their own well-defined style, despite coming from a city with such a distinct style.
WWD was obviously channelling the Antwerp Six when they put together their own WWD Six. Both groups are evidently talented and influential, and have that special something to set them apart and turn them into modern classics.