the best young talent to steal the spotlight at nyfw
New York’s autumn/winter 16 shows continued to shine a light on a radical attitude to fashion, gender and diversity rippling through the city’s fashion scene.
New York might not be known for its rebellious fashion spirit, but there's a generation of young designers pushing beyond the commercial cliché that New York is known for and heading for more avant-garde territory. Autumn/winter 16 has seen the Big Apple's new generation of designers continue to stake their claims as the future kings of the catwalk.
The most established of New York's new guard; with autumn/winter 16 was their fifth catwalk outing on the New York schedule. The brand has a raw, revolutionary energy, that draws on diverse influences, from the aesthetics of post-internet art (they've previously worked with DIS) to gender neutrality, with their lookbooks and online shops featuring each look shot twice, once on a guy, one a girl. The brand are also known for eschewing "regular" models on their catwalk, instead focussing on a diversity of ages, colour, and sizes, drawing their creative collaborators into their catwalk world; this season saw regulars like India Salvor Menuez, Juliana Huxtable and Michael Bailey Gates were joined by Barbie Ferreira
For autumn/winter 16 the duo trucked the fashion press out to Queens for what they described as a refined version of their fashion vision. An experimental deconstructed minimalism that combined raw innocence with hardened swagger. Looks ranged from simple, slashed, takes on little black dresses, to intense voluminous skirts and jeans, building up a silhouette the clashed between restraint and aggressive sculptural space-filling volume.
Another elder statesman of the New York's new guard, Telfar's been around as long as Eckhaus Latta and though they might share a similar attitude, their aesthetics couldn't be more different. Telfar works a brittle, satiric humour into his clothes, taking aim at consumer culture, as much as the lack of diversity on the catwalk. The designer has long been a champion of the subversive, pushing at gender boundaries, though more playful than aggressive, coming across with a wink rather than a raised fist.
He notably skipped New York Fashion Week Men's, instead choosing to debut his latest collection of menswear during the womenswear shows. He also used the occasion to debut the uniform he's created for the employees of American fast food chain White Castle's fast food chain, showing it alongside the rest of his collection, which was a play upon the relationship between simplicity and complexity, referencing Monkish habits and space age futurism in equal measure.
Becca McCharen's Chromat could be a sounding rod for all the changes going on in the fashion industry at the moment. Long a champion of embracing fashion's future; her shows feature diverse casts and plus size models but also Becca was one of the first to embrace the potential of technology within fashion, harnessing the power of 3D printing to create jaw dropping designs that were as indebted to architectural history as much as they were fashion. Eschewing wearability for a radical sculptural vision, Chromat has been a favourite on the stage for longer than its been a favourite on the streets; Twigs, Madonna, Beyonce, and Nicki Minaj, have all utilised Chromat as part of their shows' wardrobes.
For autumn/winter 16, Becca turned her eye more towards wearability though, without sacrificing her avant-garde eye for the unusual. Neon green trims clashed with electric blues and subtle burgundies and pastels; developing on her usual theme that configures armour as underwear with a series of protective pieces that melded form fitting sportswear with tinted PVCs and alluring cut out dresses.
Like many of the other brands recontextualising New York's fashion codes, Rio Uribe's Gypsy Sport marry inclusivity, diversity, radical attitude, and boundary breaking approach to race and gender. Gypsy Sport presented many of these pieces a few weeks back, on a cast of men, at NYFW:Mens, here, those fleeces and skirts, appeared again on women. Though they may share many concerns with the likes of Eckhaus Latta and Telfar, Hood By Air and Chromat, and the rest of New York's young designers, aesthetically Rio's designs are more indebted to a a lighter, punkier extra-terrestrial 70s than say, Eckhaus Latta's darker artistic vision; Gypsy Sport's radical attitude manifests itself via life-affirming squeals of maximal fashion glee.
Text Felix Petty
Photography Mitchell Sam