New York Fashion Now launches tonight at London’s V&A museum ( After the US paid homage to the Brits at the Metropolitan museum with Anglomania, the favor is being returned with the exhibition that honors America’s newest fashion favorites.

Aptly titled, the exhibit explores the city’s young-guns, telling the stories of twenty designers who launched their own labels between 1999 and 2004. In the United States, much of the early success of new designers is due to the focused support of the fashion press, retailers and manufacturers, as well as the funded design competitions that help the winners pay their bills.

In recent years this essential bolstering has produced some possible future greats into the country’s often lacking design-world, and New York Fashion Now captures this significant moment of design productivity, both within the city's mainstream fashion culture and outside it. The twenty featured start-up stories provide insight into how so many young hopefuls have prevailed at this particular moment.

Included in the exhibit is the Sportswear Chic category, taking it’s name after the American industry term for informal, interchangeable separate pieces, which suggests its origins in sport and athletics. The stylistic precursors to today's sportswear emerged during the 1930s - notably in New York - and continued after the Second World War. Layered knitwear, shirtwaist dresses and trousers for women formed part of America's practical, increasingly informal post-war wardrobe.

Other categories of the Victoria and Albert exhibition include Menswear, Avant-garde, Atelier and Celebrity, including the internationally lauded designers Zac Posen, Thom Browne, Behnaz Sarafpour, Christina Joy, John Varvatos and the recently (and sadly) defunct Cloak (pictured above, their last runway show Spring 2007).

New York Fashion Now is on view April 17 to September 23 at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Rd., SW7, (tel:011-44-207-942-2000).