They're creating the future of fashion.
While it's a no-brainer that New York Fashion Week is filled with swoon-worthy collections and star-studded parties, there are many more meaningful moments than what meets the eye, too. To the American fashion industry, NYFW is an anchor to everyone's hard work; it provides a platform for emerging talent to showcase their collections, opportunities to connect with peers across the industry, further missions like diversity and inclusion, and the opportunity to let creativity flourish through the presentation of IRL events to reaching a digital audience, even though they may be tuning in from the comfort of their couch. All in all, there's an undeniable reason why the week has been around for decades.
With that being said, there's much debate, especially over the last year due to COVID-19, regarding the true impact of the week—and if the need to host in-person events is really worth it. Well, to each their own, but it's safe to say the city welcomed back NYFW SS22 with open arms this season, and the designers who partook did not disappoint; instead, they honed the opportunity to drive innovation in the industry.
From casting with inclusion in mind to integrating forward-thinking technology and a meaningful mission, we've rounded up a few must-know moments from the week that you'll want to have on your radar for the future of fashion.
Casting with Inclusion: Collina Strada
When it comes to casting, we can't stress enough the importance of inclusion—and Collina Strada is a true leader in the effort. Years ago, when conversations surrounding issues in casting first arose, there was a focus on size; while that's undoubtedly crucial, designer Hillary Taymour understands that this goes further and inclusion is a wide spectrum. From runway to social media, the brand works with a diverse cast of models (many of whom are also activists, artists, and more) like Jari Jones, Kathleen McCain Engman, and Emily Barker.
A Venue to Remember: LaQuan Smith
As iconic as it is, there's never been a designer who's chosen to show at the Empire State Building until LaQuan Smith. The Queens-born designer welcomed guests 86 floors up to view his spring/summer 2022 collection. Between sweeping views of the skyline and a New York–themed soundtrack, his collection's vision and love for the city was undeniable. This will surely be a fashion moment to remember for years to come.
Meaningful Momentum: Theophilio
Oftentimes what makes for a great collection is the story behind it. This season Edvin Thompson, the designer behind Theophilio, paid homage to his experience immigrating to America on Air Jamaica (also the title for the collection) in 2002 and was inspired by his heroes who've helped honor Jamaican culture around the world. The brand is no stranger to using its platform to champion values—last year he launched a family portrait t-shirt project in honor of Juneteenth and keeps his heritage as a foundation of his business.
Breaking Down Barriers: Proenza Schouler
If you're familiar with the industry, you know that Proenza Schouler is a high-profile favorite amongst the fashion set—and let's just say it's an exclusive invite to score. But this season designer duo Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez invited, well, just about everyone to celebrate "newfound freedoms, however fragile they may seem," as stated in the show notes. Although the front row stayed insider-only, the show was hosted at Little Island which is, of course, open to the public; plus, you could catch the action on livestream, too. The duo broke barriers, allowing fashion lovers from all walks of life to enjoy the beautiful revitalization while staying true to their status—a successful best-of-both-worlds moment!
Fashion Meets Tech: Rebecca Minkoff
This past year, the importance of technology in the fashion industry was more prevalent than ever. Rebecca Minkoff tapped into this zeitgeist by showcasing her collection through NFTs, Non-Fungible Tokens—guests were able to access and bid on photos of the garments through NFTs, while other pieces were able to be digitally accessed for use in various metaverses. To top it off, proceeds from the NFT auction were donated to the Female Founder Collective.
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