5 rising brands to know this new york fashion week
Including a Rihanna-approved recent Parsons graduate and a Brooklyn designer who’s refusing to present during NYFW at all.
Photography Alex Lee
It's going to be a very different New York Fashion Week this season. Change (and a winter snow storm) are in the air. As several of New York's biggest-name brands leave the city to present their collections elsewhere — Tommy Hilfiger touched down in LA last night, Rodarte and Hood by Air will show in Paris — the schedule is opening up to a new class of designers, both high-profile (Raf Simons makes his Calvin Klein debut tomorrow) and emerging. Young NYC brand Area is putting on its first-ever runway show. Designer Lyz Olko, who last year collaborated with internet queen Jeanette Hayes, is enlisting artist Alexandra Marzella for a performance-slash-show at St. Mark's Church (inspired by Joan of Arc). And emerging prince of gothic glamor Eric Schlösberg is taking over a burlesque theater tomorrow night. Here are five other rising brands to watch this week.
Not so long ago, Vaquera (est. 2013) presented a collection inspired loosely by pilgrims and Andre Walker on the platform of the Delancey St/Essex St subway station in New York (without prior approval from the MTA). This season, the proudly individualist brand is taking a slightly more above-ground approach and showing on the official NYFW schedule for the first time. Designers Patric Dicaprio, Bryn Taubensee, David Moses, and Claire Sully — whose boundary-pushing clothes champion diversity and creative independence — will stage a runway show at beloved East Village party palace the Ukrainian National Home, on Sunday night. The show's invitation features a marble "Vaquera" Hollywood Walk of Fame star, which perhaps suggests the show will continue the brand's legacy of cinematic looks (past hits: velveteen kinderwhore dresses, sackcloth mini skirts, and lots and lots of ruffles). It also signifies, perhaps, the D.I.Y. brand's arrival as a serious fashion force.
Parsons graduates Lauren Rodriguez and Michael Freels launched their brand last fall, and released their pre-fall 17 lookbook in late January (it stars artist and Balenciaga model Jane Moseley). And like many brands of late, the duo have decided to go off-schedule; they won't present their next collection until the resort 18 season. But their most recent output is enough to be obsessing over for the time being. The collection features the kind of high-waisted indigo flared jeans you only otherwise see in photos of 70s groupies. There's also pink wide-wale corduroy suiting. Special shoutout to the pair of jeans that zips right the way round from front to butt.
Snow Xue Gao
Two weeks after Snow Xue Gao showed her graduate collection in the Parsons MFA showcase last season, Rihanna appeared on stage at Global Citizen Festival in Central Park wearing one of her pieces. It was an oversized pin-striped suit jacket complete with wildly billowing shirt sleeves and a tangerine silk lining. Rihanna's stylist, Mel Ottenberg, has become a sort of fairy godmother for emerging talent, and is also a regular judge and mentor for the VFILES Runway show. Tomorrow night, Gao will present her new collection on the VFILES catwalk (alongside fellow new arrivals Strateas Carlucci and Daniëlle Cathari). If the designer's luscious, couture-like suit-kimono hybrids last season are anything to go by, Gao is definitely one to watch. According to last season's honorary judge Young Thug, "VFILES is the future, it's the next big thing."
Recho Omondi isn't showing at New York Fashion Week. But that doesn't mean you won't see her designs around the city. The Kenyan-born, Brooklyn-based designer doesn't follow a seasonal calendar. Instead, she releases drops of her elegantly athletic pieces on her own schedule, bequeathing her followers with floor-trailing silk kimono dresses and Parma Violet-colored wool trench coats whenever they're ready. Her next collection (her third since launching in 2013) will be available on her website on March 22. In the meantime, she's gifting friends and fans with custom name-embroidered sweatshirts, instantly recognizable on your Instagram feed thanks to their Crayola-bright colors.
Raul Solis's brand isn't exactly new to NYFW. His show tomorrow will be his third in the city since he relocated from Los Angeles and founded LRS in 2014. But LRS is evolving into one of New York's most exciting young creative forces. Solis's wide-ranging collections reference everything from IKEA bags to photos of early-2000s skate gangs. And he has experimented with materials including tarpaulin, laser-cut vinyl, and even quilted mattress textiles. Totally fresh and seasoned with their own kind of off-kilter magic, Solis's clothes celebrate New York's diversity and inventiveness in exactly the ways you want to see this week.
Text Alice Newell-Hanson