stand clear of the closing doors: inside vaquera’s subway fashion show
The emerging brand drew downtown it-kids and rush hour riders alike to its third presentation, staged at the Delancey Street F train station.
New York City subway riders are used to shows livening up their commutes. "Showtime" dancers like the W.A.F.F.L.E crew perfect their gravity-defying routines on the poles of the Q, full blown mariachi bands weave their way through the L, and then there's the guy playing Sound of Silence on the pan pipes every morning at the Metropolitan G station. But last Friday night, F train riders were treated to a different kind of show: a fashion show.
Fashion brand Vaquera presented its third collection on the uptown platform at the Delancey St station to an eclectic mix of downtown it-kids like Michael Bailey Gates and Hari Nef, as well as regular ol' rush hour riders. A fair share of "WTFs" were thrown around as models chomped on a bountiful harvest of carrots, but for the most part, the non-fashion set seemed to really get into it, shooting selfies and Snapchats galore. We caught up with Vaquera designer Patric DiCaprio to talk cowgirls and how to get your money's worth on the MTA.
Tell us about the Vaquera's origins.
I was a stylist before I started making clothes. I felt the need to start a clothing brand because of my extreme boredom with the current fashion scene, especially in New York. No one was making the clothes I wanted to use for shoots, so I bought a sewing machine and taught myself to sew using cosplay tutorials. The spanish word "vaquera" refers to a cowgirl and the line itself has little to do with the image of male cowboys or men in general. "La Vaquera" is what my Mexican co-workers called me when I was working in a kitchen in the East Village because I was bossy and from Alabama.
What were some of your starting points for this collection?
When I am starting a collection I try not to get stuck on a super specific theme, I just start making the clothes piece by piece and the collection begins to materialise. This season's Colonial America theme was inspired by an interview with Andre Walker on House of Style. Describing his autumn/winter 93 collection, he said: "These clothes are for the corny girl, are for the stale girl who wants to be gross…I knew it was going to be gross but I had to take that risk, because basically tomorrow--tomorrow's going to grosser than today." After I heard that, I thought 'what could be cornier or more repulsive than Pilgrim looks?'
Tell us about the presentation. Why show in a subway station? Was there a reason you picked this one?
I was inspired to show on the subway platform by the MTA's recent announcement that they will be raising the price of fares again. I wanted to explore new ways of getting my money's worth. It also ties in the ideas of transportation and pilgrimage which were important to this collection and my work in general. I chose the Uptown F platform at Delancey and Essex because of its bountiful orchard mosaic.
Did you face any challenges presenting on the platform? What was the public's reaction like?
For the most part, everything ran smoothly. The general public was super into it. I keep seeing comments on Instagram photos from the presentation with people saying "OMG I walked past this on my way home from work, so sick." We also had a trio of Showtime boys come back three times to take shirtless Instagram pics with the models.
Do you think fashion shows should be made open to the public?
I think it depends on the brand. If you are a luxury brand that only sells to rich white people and celebrities, then it makes sense to only invite rich white people and celebrities to your shows and stage them in exclusive venues. But I'm interested in all types of people wearing my clothes so it was fun having my presentation in public. The options are endless! My friends Moses Gauntlett Cheng had their show out of an RV in an active parking garage.
Text Emily Manning
Photography Franey Miller