8 Emerging Fashion Designers Who Are Changing The Game

The NYFW up-and-comers making waves in the industry

With last week’s wrap of New York Fashion Week, it's time to think about all the heirs to the fashion throne following monarchs like Alexander Wang and Marc Jacob. Who are the up-and-comers taking New York by storm?

We rounded up eight talented labels that are about to everywhere; if you don’t know them now, you will soon. These brands are the new breed of designers, breaking the societal norms of fashion, whether it’s bending gender roles or opting for an entirely zero-waste, ethical existence (both are still less common than it should be in today’s industry). They’re the future of the industry as we know it. Get to know them ahead.

Russian ready-to-wear label Walk of Shame just made its NYFW debut with the presentation of its Spring 2018 collection. Designer Andry Artymov drew inspiration from Moscow in the summertime, opting for a mix of feminine silhouettes with those of classic streetwear, bringing together themes of the city streets and those of the countryside.

In the collection, you’ll find everything from menswear-inspired shirts, wide-leg trousers, and tees to silk slip dresses and blouses. Of course, there’s a bit of quirkiness to the collection, with hints of polka dots, flame prints, and sequins making appearances throughout the looks.

VaqueraVaquera was started back in 2013—the brainchild of creatives Patric DiCaprio, Bryn Taubensee, David Moses, and Claire Sully. A label that plays with the idea of gender and breaks traditional roles, it hopes to show the world a new standard of beauty, straying away from the mainstream ideals so often seen in the industry,

This season, the brand stayed true to these ideals for its second NYFW showing, as another gender-fluid collection made its way down the runways and included one model carrying bags of garbage, while another wore a dress made entirely of stringed-together Vaquera-branded credit cards. Our favorite? The closing look, a fluffy robe dress of gigantic proportions.

China-born, New York-based fashion designer Lujin Zhang’s designs take influence from the mountains and prairies of her homeland. Often playing with the idea of deconstruction, she took a much more feminine and soft approach this time around for her second NYFW showing. “Bird of Paradise,” the name of her latest collection, draws inspiration from the flower, using pastels, silks, and organza to create dreamy pieces that evoke springtime in a way that’s both ethereal and modern.

Calvin LuoWhile Calvin Luo is young—in fact, the youngest designer to ever present in the official New York Fashion Week calendar—he’s also not exactly a newcomer. For his fourth-ever collection, the designer is continuing to create buzz.

This season centers around what Luo described to WWD as being “skater-girl-turned-whimsy-woman”; it was a little bit sporty and a little bit feminine, with major references to the ‘90s: ruching, crinkled velvet, cropped jackets, and slip dresses. Overall, it’s fun, young, and fresh, yet still clean and sophisticated.

BarràganDesigner Victor Barràgan has been making waves since he started his namesake label, Barràgan, in 2014, after relocating to New York from Mexico. Thanks to his genderless concept of design, overtly sexual Instagram accounts, and love for statement jewelry, he’s gained quite a following amongst fashion’s elite and showed at NYFW for the second time this past week.

This season, basics such as T-shirts and jeans were reinterpreted as skirts, work shirts, and dress pants, while classic womenswear and menswear silhouettes were reworked to be worn by all.

BevzaUkranian designer Svitlana Bevza just made her NYFW debut with a powerful collection, one that serves to explore both a woman’s fragility and her strengths. Tying in her Ukranian roots and touching on the reality that is the country today, key pieces from her collection include sateen bulletproof vests, bubble wrap-like coats, and bandage details. While the collection may sound harsh, it’s extremely elegant and minimal, with sateen and cotton taking the form of trousers, blazers, ankle-length skirts, and simple dresses.

LivariLivari is a new luxury eco-friendly label that just made its NYFW debut, and just so happens to have Alysia Reiner of Orange Is the New Black, Tabii St. Bernard-Jacobs of The Women’s March, and stylist Claudine DeSola of Caravan Stylist Studio at the helm. The first collection consists of separates and dresses for women of all walks of life, whether it’s the working professional dressing for a meeting or the creative dressing for play.

Each made-to-order piece is zero-waste and produced with ethically minded practices. With fashion beginning to shift (or at least try to) toward more ethical, sustainable practices, we’re happy to see a label cater to every woman.

NamiliaBerlin-based designers Nan Li and Emilia Pfohl founded their brand, Namilia, back in 2015 with their first collection, “My Pussy, My Choice,” selected for VFiles Runway: October 2015. Soon after, the brand made its first standalone, on-schedule NYFW show debut, with its Spring 2017, collection last September.

Earlier this week, Namilia presented its third NYFW runway show, where a slew of vagina-covered gowns, jackets, and more was sent down the catwalk. Needless to say, it made quite the impression. The feminist collection—called The Indiscreet Jewels—serves to celebrate sex as a natural part of life, rather than a taboo topic. We can’t wait to see what the brand does next.