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meet the next generation of new york designers

Seven rising NYC brands discuss the people and places that inspire them.

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Nov 15 2016, 3:05pm

Raul Solis of LRS, and stylist Alison Marie Isbell. Photography Alex Lee.

Holding shows in subway stations, Ukrainian dance halls, and on boats in the East River, an emerging generation of New York designers are finding new ways to combat the city’s corporate fashion culture. They’re creating all-new aesthetics with a DIY spirit that flies in the face of hellish rents and limited financial support systems. And, in the words of designer Eric Schlösberg, “For the first time in decades, it feels like New York's having a major moment.”

LRS Studio (pictured above)
Name: Raul Solis. Age: 31. Hometown: Los Angeles. New York neighborhood: Bed-Stuy. Who is your model and how did you meet? Alison [Marie Isbell] is a friend and stylist I work with on LRS. What about your label do they embody? My label is about individuality, courage, and soul. Alison is an original character, a true individual. She feeds me neverending inspiration and kindness. What's the story behind your most recent collection? Photos of early-2000s high school kids, skate gangs, drug parties, and raves were all reference points. What's the most exciting thing about being a designer in New York right now? Acceptance. Now more than ever the industry is looking at younger designers and willing to try out new ideas and support new labels. And what's the most challenging thing? The lack of financial support. If you could dress anyone for the Oscars, who would it be? Helena Bonham Carter, in some custom wicked striped dress or hand-crocheted gown.

Song Seoyoon
Name: Song Seoyoon. Age: 25. Hometown: Seoul. New York neighborhood: Bushwick. Who is your model and how did you meet? Kevin Tierney. He's a New York native pro skater, who I met through my friend Taylor, his girlfriend. One day I want him to wear one of my monogram print tracksuits and skate on his fake Gucci board. What about your label do they embody? I'm still developing my identity so I don't even know what my brand is supposed to be. I just make what I want to make in that time and place. What's the story behind your most recent collection? I initially started it to show the beauty of garment making process. I used trims, embroideries, prints and appliques to mimic the pattern-making, draping, and sewing process. Then, during my research at New York garment factories, I fell in love with all the seamstress's styles: formal suits with sporty sweats, dressy socks with plastic slippers, fake designer bags, real designers' elegant fabric on their hands. Everything was clashing but in a perfectly beautiful reconciliation. What's the most exciting thing about being a designer in New York right now? You can find everything here. Any kind of art, music, design, culture, people, you name it and it's there. And what's the most challenging thing? That it's a city. I wish NYC was one huge mountain, or a tropical island. If you could dress anyone for the Oscars, who would it be? David Lynch.

Vaquera
Names: Patric Dicaprio, Bryn Taubensee, David Moses, and Claire Sully. Ages: Patric and Bryn are 26, David and Claire are 22. New York neighborhood: Greenpoint. Who is your model and how did you meet? Our model is Lilien Fritz. We found him at David and Patric's day job. It was our turn to play music and we were dancing super crazy behind the register and noticed someone wearing a giant fur coat mimicking us from across the store. We started talking to him and became friends. What about your label do they embody? Fearlessness and a need to express one's individuality even at a young age. We're thinking of hiring him as a creative consultant. What's the story behind your most recent collection? The theme of our recent collection was greek vs. Greek. We were interested in the connection between greek college life and ancient Greece. It was Vaquera making Abercrombie & Fitch fan fiction. What's the most exciting thing about being a designer in New York right now? The amount of press we are receiving has given us a platform to discuss our issues with the fashion industry. We want to prove that having a clothing brand isn't just about making money or getting fame. And what's the most challenging thing? Being considered just another New York underground brand. Many of our friends are designers and we love and support their work but it's hard to be lumped in with people that you have little in common with other than location and age. What do you hope to be doing ten years from now? Still making clothes that inspire us.

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Lou Dallas
Name: Raffaella Julia Hanley. Age: 27. Hometown: New York City. Who is your model and how did you meet? My friend Emma McMillan. We met at a party where I was crocheting my first collection. We've been collaborating ever since. What about your label do they embody? Lou is about living in your imagination. Emma breathes fantasy. She is able to take the essence of Lou Dallas and embody it whether as a model or as a set designer. If I'm thinking about Marie Antoinette, ecoterrorism, or sportswear she becomes a cipher for those ideas. What's the story behind your most recent collection? I took inspiration from gowns. I looked at Christian Lacroix, Galliano at Dior, Alexander McQueen, and Cristóbal Balenciaga. I was very inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West House. An Arizona landscape. Desert plant shapes. The colors of Joseph Albers and Georgia O'Keeffe. A diplomat visiting another planet. Pairs. Where in the city inspires you most? Anywhere I'm walking. What do you listen to while you work? Double Fantasy by John Lennon and Yoko Ono and I'm Your Man by Leonard Cohen. If you could dress anyone for the Oscars, who would it be? Hedy Lamarr, in an orange knit slip dress and garters, with a canary capelet with pink poufs, and 8-inch rose petal lucite heels.

Gauntlett Cheng
Names: Esther Gauntlett and Jenny Cheng. Ages: 27 and 26. Hometowns: Perth, Australia and Long Island, NY. New York neighborhoods: Bed-Stuy and Chinatown. Who is your model and how did you meet? Zoe Kestan. Zoe and Jenny both studied textiles at RISD. What about your label do they embody? Skimpiness. What's the story behind your most recent collection? We are both balancing day jobs, going out at night, and working on the label. [The collection is about] when your composure starts disintegrating at work, you pretend like you don't have to wake up in the morning when you party all night, and your two worlds bleed together. Where in the city inspires you most? Brighton Beach. What do you listen to while you work? Right now, Madonna's Ray of Light. What's the most exciting thing about being a designer in New York right now? I think institutions, stylists, and magazines are more interested in supporting young designers at the moment. It's really encouraging, especially when your label is run completely by yourselves with the help of your friends. It's a labor of love and it's rewarding to see that it's acknowledged. What do you hope to be doing ten years from now? Getting paid for doing exactly what we're doing right now, with a few more expensed business trips.

Eric Schlösberg
Name: Eric Schlösberg. Age: 28. Hometown: Miami Beach. New York neighborhood: East Village. Who is your model and how did you meet? Logan is my husband! What about your brand do they embody? My brand is all about expression and dressing for the character you want to portray at that moment. All the friends who modeled this collection do that on a regular day. What's the story behind your most recent collection? This season is all about a small town girl who moves to Hollywood to become an actress and actually becomes a star! But the focus is more on the dark side of success and the struggle for perfection. What do you listen to while you work? Korn, Limp Bizkit, Hole, Rihanna, Ariana Grande, and of course Marilyn Manson. What's the most exciting thing about being a designer in New York right now? For the first time in decades New York feels like it's really having a major MOMENT. And what's the most challenging thing? Supporting oneself as a young designer in one of the most expensive cities in the world. What do you hope to be doing ten years from now? I hope to be buying a home here in the city, ha ha! If you could dress anyone for the Oscars, who would it be? In an ideal world, Alaska Thunderfuck would be nominated for an Oscar and I would be dressing her in the sluttiest, sparkliest, most horrible thing my mind could come up with.

Barragán
Name: Victor Barragán. Age: 24. Hometown: Mexico City. New York neighborhood: Bed-Stuy. Who is your model and how did you meet? Alexandra Myshalov. We met over Instagram DM. What about your label do they embody? A confident and powerful woman. What's the story behind your most recent collection? The myth of Sisyphus. Where in the city inspires you most? Any supermarket in Chinatown. What's the most exciting thing about being a designer in New York right now? The diversity in every field, and being able to order takeout 24 hours a day. And what's the most challenging thing? Finding time to sleep and hang out with friends. What do you hope to be doing ten years from now? The same thing, on a bigger scale. If you could dress anyone for the Oscars, who would it be? J-Lo, in something sheer with Swarovski crystals.

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Credits


Text Alice Newell-Hanson
Photography Alex Lee

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