There’s no doubt about it: Times are a-changin’ in the world of fashion, with radical shifts happening during New York Fashion Week—even more than in the past few seasons.
To start, more and more designers are ditching the traditional runway show for more innovative ways of presenting a collection. Others are using the runway as a means of political activism. Emerging designers are gaining more time in the spotlight, and are applauded for trailblazing work that breaks down fashion norms. New York’s greatest are finally taking the necessary steps toward a more sustainable, eco-friendly industry.
It’s a different world than it was during the days of Bryant Park and Lincoln Center—and it’s a good thing. Below, we highlight the moments we’ll be looking out for when the shows begin this week.
The political statementsFashion has been pretty political the past few seasons, and with the increasing amount of outrage and resistance, the statements made by fashion designers are bound to get louder.
Prabal Gurung is probably one of the most outspoken male designers, who's been known to send his models, and himself, down the catwalk in a series of political tees, and began his most recent Spring/Summer 2018 show with The Activist’s Prayer. After all that has come out in the past five months about some of fashion’s and Hollywood’s elite males and the continual impact of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, we’re excited to see how Gurung—and the rest of the designers showing this month—plan to raise more awareness.
The end of animal furThis season gives us a look at next fall, which means one thing: a lot of coats and outerwear. Normally, this would mean we’d be seeing a lot of fur, too, but it looks like things are finally beginning to change for the better.
Back in October, Alessandro Michele announced that he’d be leading Gucci into a fur-free future, starting with the sale of his Spring 2018 collection. More recently, Michael Kors announced that it is committed to becoming completely animal fur-free, which is a big deal for a brand known for sending luxe fur coats down the runway season after season. “Due to technological advances in fabrications, we now have the ability to create a luxe aesthetic using non-animal fur,” said Kors in an official press release. “We will showcase these new techniques in our upcoming runway show in February.” While we don’t yet know whether this means the entire collection will use synthetic fur or only some of it, the release does state that all fur will be phased out from the brand by December.
For a brand as big as Michael Kors (and Jimmy Choo, which the brand acquired back in July 2017), it’s a major step to follow Gucci toward a cruelty-free industry. We’re curious to see if anyone else follows their lead at NYFW.
More gender-fluidityEven though we now have NYFW:M and NYFW sandwiched together into one week, we’re looking forward to seeing more gender-fluidity in collections across the boards—especially from up-and-comers such as Vaquera and Laurence & Chico.
Who will we be watching this season? Moon Choi, a 2017 Parson’s graduate, who will be presenting a collection during NYFW for the first time. Her focus on broad shoulders and tailoring with delicate, sheer organza makes for an interesting mash-up of masculine and feminine influences. “I believe clothing is not defined by gender, and my aesthetic blurs the boundaries between masculine and feminine,” says Choi. “I try to not be one-sided and find a balance between feminine and masculine or tension and freedom. And that gave me a sense of purpose to find freedom inside daily life.”
Alexander Wang's last NYFW showBack in January, it was announced that Alexander Wang will be leaving NYFW after this month to show his collections in June and December. He’s undoubtedly been the king of NYFW after-parties (and untraditional venues) since he first stepped out onto the scene, so we’re sure he’ll go out with a bang. If it’s anything like last year’s Bushwick #WangFest—which included performances by Ashanti and Ja Rule, a bounce house, and a giant candlelit table display of doughnuts, we’re all for it.
Some fun nostalgia à la Juicy CoutureWe’re all for retro pleasures, so when Juicy Couture (and its rhinestone-encrusted velour tracksuits) began its revival in 2016, we were nothing short of ecstatic. Since then, the brand has collaborated with Vetements and Urban Outfitters and held a presentation last NYFW. Now, solidifying its place in the fashion world, we are excited to see Juicy hit the catwalk this month. Expect the tracksuit revival to hit full swing next fall.
A look back on 20 years of Eugenia Kim's hatsEugenia Kim has been designing hats for two decades, though she's still relatively new to the NYFW circuit, showing for the first time only last season. Fresh from adorning our beloved Beyoncé with a custom leather beret for the Grammys, she’s back on the calendar once again. This time, however, she’ll be celebrating her 20th anniversary by presenting not only her brand-new collection but also a retrospective of some of her best work over the years, dug up from the archives. This includes pieces from films like Zoolander and High Fidelity, as well as her iconic “hair mullet” hat, mohawk hats, and more.
What do we expect to get out of it? A totally new and inspired appreciation for headgear.
The new landscapeIt’s an interesting time for fashion. More and more designers are dropping out of NYFW (and ditching the traditional fashion calendar in general), to instead show collections—or make a different kind of impact—through other outlets.
Last month, designer Rebecca Minkoff decided to focus her efforts on activism rather than a runway show. She made a significant donation to The Women’s March, shot a campaign profiling many of the March’s leaders and committee members along with other influencers, activists, and trailblazers, and launched a new initiative, RM Superwomen, which serves to inspire women to be fearless.
Although Rodarte has shown during Paris Haute Couture Week instead of NYFW the past few seasons, the brand decided to launch a lookbook in place of a show this season. Also in lieu of a runway, Rag & Bone will be showing an experimental film showcasing its Spring 2018 collection as it hits stores.
What we’re most curious to see, though, is how this NYFW plays out with so many major players gone, or giving one final catwalk bow this season.