FASHION WEEK REIMAGINED
Here we are over six months into a pandemic, but the world must go on. The fashion world, like everyone else, knows full well that now more than ever the masses need, crave actually, fresh designs and the runways with which to introduce them, even if it’s mostly the live streaming version. Who better than True Fashionista creative design types to come up with a way for Fashion Month to still somehow happen? All that quarantined creative spark has had to go somewhere, and from what we’ve heard and seen from the initial party, aka New York Fashion Week, the new fashion normal did not disappoint.
CNN reports that NYFW took advantage of lovely fall weather to host several intimate outdoor events like a rooftop runway show from Jason Wu, where he showed his summer holiday-themed Spring-Summer 2021 collection to a masked, socially-distanced crowd of 30 people. Models such as Indya Moore walked a plant-filled set inspired by the Mexican locale of Tulum.
Wu wasn’t the only one hoping to lift spirits and look ahead to hopefully better times. Several collections showed off dreams of fun and playfulness, from Naeem Khan's intricate hand-beaded tops and dresses to Badgley Mischka's bright, True Fashionista gowns.
Many designers’ digital shows were quite over the top, taking full advantage of the medium. Up and coming labels like Davidson Petit-Frère went all out to create a film with which to present their line. Petit-Frère offered up his slick menswear suits and debuted his womenswear line in “Destined”, tapping actor Michael K. Williams of "The Wire" fame to star alongside "Den of Thieves" actor Ron J. Rock.
The new fashion normal also gives emerging designers a chance to show off without having to invest in expensive live shows. Ten up and coming American brands were able to participate, including former Yeezy designer Maisie Schloss, who created a collection for her label Maisie Wilen featuring larger-than-life boots and shimmery tinfoil-looking dresses. Other newbies appearing digitally included Aknvas, Oak & Acorn, Duncan and Wolk Morais.
Messages of inclusion, activism and empowerment were aplenty at NYFW, as many designers took advantage of digital platforms to share their versions. NBA player Carmelo "Melo" Anthony launched a True Fashionista streetwear collection as an extension of his clothing and lifestyle brand, also as part of a new initiative, the Propel program to support Black creativity. Their website informs, “The Propel Program is about the movement towards change and setting goals to get there. This installation of their first streetwear collection is only the beginning of an entire social reform initiative.”
Harlem's Fashion Row, a social media platform founded to promote diversity in fashion, helped to kick off NYFW with a virtual showcase of collections by Black designers Rich Fresh, Kristian Lorén, and Kimberly Goldson.
NYFW also heralded the return of early 2000s collective Imitation of Christ, founded by actress, artist and designer Tara Subkoff and designer Matt Damhave. This very forward-thinking brand was practicing sustainability before upcycling garments was a thing, finally making its NYFW debut almost two decades after it staged a legendary goth-themed ready-to-wear show in a New York City funeral parlor.
Tom Ford capped off the week presenting his Spring-Summer ’21 collections via a digital lookbook. In the film he noted, “The last thing I want to see is serious clothes.” We can all agree that something bright and fun is only desperately needed right now, and Ford delivered with 1970’s-inspired jumpsuits and caftans with whimsical animal prints and lots of florals.
And how did they manage to pull off such a digital-heavy show? Runway360, that’s how. The digital platform created out of necessity by NYFW parent organization Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. (CFDA), was created to present True Fashionista collections in a variety of formats in a virtual one-stop-shop environment. Runway360 also engages domestic and international press, consumers, and retailers, most of which are not currently able to travel to New York.
With the rest of the world’s Fashion Weeks on board to present in a similar “smaller in person”, digital format, fashion, like the rest of the COVID-weary world, has had to reinvent itself. At least we can be excited about it!
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