meet the designers putting the new back into new york

Get to know the design talent crafting New York's new aesthetic.

by i-D Staff and Lynette Nylander
16 February 2016, 1:25pm

Matthew Adams Dolan

Name Matthew Dolan Age 28 Did you always want to work in fashion? When I first started my undergrad I wasn't 100% committed. I knew I wanted to do something in design or art, but once I started I was pretty set. How do you want to develop the brand? My first two collections were quite small. There's still a lot of things that I want to look at for fall/winter 16. I've been working on a lot of big outerwear pieces so there's a lot more to explore.

Grey wears jacket, dungarees and t-shirt Matthew Adams Dolan. Jewelry model's own. 


Name James Flemons Age 27 Who are you designing for? My designs are for everyone. I know in fashion you're supposed to have your target market but what's wrong with trying to appeal to everyone? Do you feel pressure to keep up with the pace of fashion? I think I go through waves. I've had many battles with self doubt; wondering if my place in fashion is even relevant because the industry has become so saturated. There's a lot of commerciality in New York, have you found that hard, being a more conceptual brand? I like to think I'm caught between conceptual and reality. I try to make conceptual ideas more tangible and realistic so all different types of people can see themselves in my clothes. 

Arsun wears jacket and t-shirt Phlemuns. Shirt stylist's own. Jeans model's own.


Name Vejas Kruszewski Age 19 How did you get into fashion? I started making clothing for fun, and out of curiosity to see if the things I wanted to bring into existence were possible. How do you find New York being a young brand? It's a place of contradictions, because it is where the market and the opportunities are, but it's very difficult to sustain a young business in such an expensive place. Do you think being a designer is solely about just making the clothes? No, you can't get away with that anymore. There's so much competition that you have to have a strong singular point of view and consistent execution throughout. The most successful designers right now are not necessarily designers, but creative directors, and masters of the visualization and communication of their ideas.

Andre wears jacket and trousers Vejas. T-shirt What Goes Comes Around Vintage. Jewelry model's own. Brieta wears top and jeans Vejas. Earring Tara 4779. Necklace Jennifer Fisher.

Melitta Baumeister

Name Melitta Baumeister Age 29 How long have you lived in New York? Four years. Have you found stores supportive from the start? I think being understood by Dover Street Market gave me so much comfort. It says just keep doing what you're doing so being accepted by them has been the greatest support. Do you feel a pressure to keep up with the pace of fashion? I don't produce pre-fall or resort yet. I always wonder really who needs that many clothes. I think in a way it's wrong. It's not necessary to put out that much; it also doesn't give the designer enough time to really think, to reflect and to create essentially. 

Walter wears dress Melitta Baumeister.

Andrea Jiapei Li

Name Jiapei Li Age 26 Did you always want to go down the traditional route of going to fashion school? I was lucky enough to get a scholarship. I think it depends on what kind of person you are. For me, it was important to have a professor or a guide who could teach me a lot of things and a give me a starting point to develop from. What's the inspiration of your spring/summer 16 collection? It's called Just Kids. It's about the feeling of keeping optimistic. When you are at that age when you'd rather be an adult but you are still enjoying having fun.

Luca wears top Andrea Jiapei Li. Jeans vintage from What Goes Around Comes Around. Earring Lynn Ban.


Name Matthew Williams Age 30 How did you get into fashion? I didn't realize fashion could be a career until I was in my late teens. I moved to Los Angeles at 19 to work for a brand that offered me an internship, and then moved to New York a year and a half later when I was 21. Since then I've been living in New York on and off for many years. What do you think New York has that other fashion capitals don't? It's still a very affluent city and it has such a great history. I get so inspired by just being in Manhattan and seeing the people, the buildings — I don't know how to explain the feeling that I love. It's where I'm going to live for the rest of my life. Who are you designing for? It's kind of a mix of girls who I used to grow up with in California but with more of a downtown chic. I really come from a club background and I want all the pieces to exist on their own and for people to wear them in their daily lives mixed with other things.

Christian wears jacket and jeans Alyx. Jewelry model's own. Boots Stetson. 

Public School 

Names Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne How does the city act a source of inspiration? It helps inspire in obvious ways; from the pace to the sense of hustle. But it also affects us in ways we don't even notice unless we really think about it. Like choosing a certain finish for a zipper or something minute. We owe it all to us being raised in NYC. Is there enough support out there for young New York designers? I think it's difficult anywhere as a young designer or an old designer for that matter, but New York has a strong fashion community looking to help out in many ways. We're a product of that. There is a lot of commerciality in New York, have you found mixing in your creativity hard? You have to find the perfect balance between the two extremes. The truths of your brand must take precedent and then everything else falls into place. 

Osiris wears jacket and pants Public School. T-shirt and jewelry model's own.


Name Charles Harbison Age 33 What's the most creative area of New York? I feel like it's Brooklyn. I'm in Bushwick. I lived there when I launched the collection initially. There's lots of artists around our studios and galleries. For me it's routed in Brooklyn and the creative community is spreading around Bed-Stuy and Bushwick. Is there a sense of camaraderie between young designers in New York? There's got to be. You've got to collectively bargain but it's that collective energy keeps us all encouraged and informs us. How do you want to develop Harbison? I just want to take this kind of lifestyle approach with the collection and offer more; giving more people the means to opt into it. I also want to diversify the price point, that's really important to me.

Sahara wears hoodie American Apparel. Bralette and skirt Harbison. T-shirt (worn underneath) vintage from What Goes Around Comes Around. Ring model's own. Socks and trainers stylist's own. 

Shan Huq

Name Shan Huq Age 20 Do you feel like there's enough support and initiatives for New York designers? For me, everything is in-house right now. I don't even know where to go to find support. I think interest mostly comes from people visiting internationally. What's the inspiration of your spring/summer 16 collection? The collection is about essentials. I was thinking about people who buy clothing without the fashion purpose. I wanted to take the fashion out of clothes. I think about the inspiration for next season and I talk about it and it turns out I'm inspired by nothing.

Andrew wears jacket and skirt Shan Huq.


Text Lynette Nylander
Photography Cass Bird
Styling Carlos Nazario
Hair Tamara McNaughton at Management+Artists
Make-up Frank B at The Wall Group
Nail technician Megumi Yamamoto at Susan Price NYC
Photography assistance Jon Heller, Clay Howard Smith
Digital technician Anthony Miller
Styling assistance Kenny Paul, Yuiko Ikebata, Michelle Veal
Hair assistance Erin Herschleb
Make-up assistance Akiko Owada, Mikako Shojima
Production Paula Navratil
Production assistance Ashley Suarez, John Daniel Powers
Casting Walter Pearce
Models Grey Sorrenti, Arsun Sorrenti, Andre, Brieta, Walter, Luca, Christian, Sahara, Andrew and Osiris.

New New York
Public School
fashion interviews
andrea jiapei li
matthew adams dolan
shan huq