New York Fashion Week Features Young Brands in Style

blog image

Friday marked the beginning of New York Fashion Week, with several major designers absent from the runway, but a crowded schedule of new designers and developing labels — the event’s hallmark.

One of the few well-known labels that returned this year, Rodarte launched the Fall/Winter 2023 parade.

Models paraded the runway in black gowns with flared sleeves and occasionally plunging necklines for Rodarte, the luxury collection created by sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy of California.

In a menagerie-like setting, the Collina Strada event was a tribute to animals. A model with a beard “meowed” in front of the excited audience before being followed by models wearing rhinoceros horns and pig snouts.

The brand’s streetwear style is still present, but the colours are less kaleidoscopic and more sophisticated and sober.

Thom Browne, who succeeds Tom Ford as the head of the American fashion union, will be performing in New York on Tuesday, so those who appreciate theatrical productions will also enjoy his visit (CFDA).

Regulars Proenza Schouler, Altuzarra, Coach, Sergio Hudson, Carolina Herrera, Gabriela Hearst, and Michael Kors are among the other prominent names.

But the programme, which closes on Wednesday in the chilly month of February in the Big Apple, is once again noticeably devoid of high-profile figures like Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, and former CFDA leader Tom Ford.

Pop icon Rihanna, who has previously shown her lingerie line Fenty in New York, will instead perform on Sunday at the highly anticipated Super Bowl half-time performance.

According to Jacqueline Quinn of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), “very few names are brands that are prominent in the US market,” and her students are instead concentrating on Paris and Milan.

The ready-to-wear designs instead offer a large serving of fresh faces and emerging labels like Elena Velez.

For her unconventional designs that combine high fashion with the metalsmithing legacy of her native Milwaukee, the 28-year-old was selected “emerging designer of the year” at the 2022 CFDA awards.

Designer Christian Juul Nielsen of Denmark poses for a photo during a fitting ahead of his New York Fasion Week runway show, in New York on February 10, 2023 © Ed JONES

– “Renaissance Era” – Twenty designers are under the age of thirty, including the Indian Kanika Goyal (KGL), the New York-based Taofeek Abijako and his label Head if State, the Nigerian-born Taofeek Abijako, and the environmentally conscious Emma Gage (Melke).

According to Velez, a “period of renaissance” has been sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the young woman, “I think there is a fresh hunger for life and a reminder of the precariousness of existence that drives young people like myself to embolden ourselves with our hobbies.”

And Velez is determined to take advantage of it now.

“If we’re being honest, the shelf-life of a startup fashion brand isn’t exactly lengthy,” she said.

Christian Juul Nielsen, a designer from Denmark who serves as the creative director of Herve Leger, has several years of expertise under his belt from his time spent at Dior, Nina Ricci, and Oscar de la Renta.

He started his own company, Aknvas, in 2019. According to the website, the brand’s designs “focus on drape, flattering silhouettes, innovative knits, and an elevated palette.”

He told AFP: “I try to translate the drama I got from John Galliano and the modernity I got from Raf Simmons.”

New York offers a chance for Nielsen and people like him.

“A lot of tiny brands in Paris, they just don’t get on the calendar. In America, there is this excitement of newness, and I want to be part of  making the  New York fashion scene exciting, “Nielsen added.

Emma Gage (centre R) is one of several younger designers parading at New York Fashion Week © Ed JONES

Read more