Oh Hello Jo — Ups / Downs / Ins & Outs of NYFW

Words:
Jo Rosenthal

With New York fashion week S/S 2020 behind us, I figured I’d give an honest review of my favourite shows, how I regulated my emotions and what I think the future of fashion holds.

This September was only my second time participating in fashion week. I was originally only planning on doing it one time, but there’s so many beautiful things to look at and friends that I never get to see that I felt like I’d have FOMO if I missed it. I still feel like I had that feeling of missing out because there were so many events and I was upset that I wasn’t invited to all of them.
This brought me to the realization that if I get too heavily invested in an industry that easily excludes, causes waste and more people to be self conscious, maybe I should take a step back. I first started participating in fashion week as a fun way to meet people and get inspired. I’m not saying that’s not the place for this to happen, but when thousands of people are flying in from all over the world, it’s hard to figure out what ones place is as a young writer and fashion enthusiast.
Since I attended quite a lot of shows and gatherings and I love lists, below is a full and honest review of everything I saw of note.
  • September 4th:

     

    I kicked off FW with New York/London based brand All Things Mochi. Their show was an ode to the Philippines with traditional dancers and snacks surrounding the theme. This was probably one of the only shows I saw models smiling, which made it a more than pleasant experience. Viewers were taken to the top of the Standard East Village and shown a 360 view of New York while models posed
    Cie Denim’s had their first ever presentation this fashion week, and boy was it fun! It was a nostalgic trip back to the 90’s inside of the Chinatown Arcade. Models fiercely stood around wearing bandana tops and every different type of jeans. My favorite thing I saw there were the jean bucket hats and re-worked t-shirts paired with bandana scrunchies. Models of all shapes and sizes danced to Blink 182 and it was a party for everyone involved.
  • The Last Line cocktail was at the most beautiful Lady Mendl’s tea room in Gramercy, and I got my ear pierced which was such a spur of the moment thing that I couldn’t help but smile the entire time. If you’ve never seen their jewellery, it’s a MUST have for anyone with some extra dollars to spend on diamonds. Girls just wanna have funds, am I right?
  • I didn’t know what to expect at the Jordache presentation, but I’ve never been in a room with such good-looking people. And everyone was at least 8 feet tall (well, more like 6 feet tall, but everyone was in heels.) This event was extraordinarily star studded and the clothes were super fun and featured denim bikinis, corsets and hot guys with no shirts on. Big fan.
September 6th:

 

  • Rui Zhou has been in the hearts of fashion lovers everywhere since becoming a 2018 CFDA graduate. Her pieces define the lines between skin and garment and her presentation featured exactly that. Knitwear of every different color with pearl garments shone brightly as models sat around looking like woodland creatures. This was one of the collections where I wanted every single piece.

     

  • My favorite thing about the A Company presentation (other than everyone nice there) was the food display. Experimental chef Amanny Ahmed created an immersive display of healthy eats while models of all walks of life did this sort of modern dance around white cloths and broken glass. I helped myself to a handful of radishes and sourdough bread while I admired the stunning garments that looked like sculptures.
September 7th:

 

  • Susan Alexandra had a bat-mitzvah themed presentation and that’s really all I have to say about that.
  • One of my all time favorite new designers Paris99 had her first presentation at St. Marks Church, and it was filled with love. A beautifully diverse cast played different garden games while a bake sale with homemade treats by the designer were sold and the designers cousin Jules (who is an incredible actor) lead the models around. Everyone smiled and laughed and it seemed like everyone was there to support each other which is truly what I think fashion week should be all about.
  • Another presentation that paved the way for a kinder fashion industry was Suzanne Rae. This runway show started with an out of this world song about being yourself and ended with the entire audience dancing and laughing. Neons were showcased in different ways while unique suiting in different brocade and plaid fabrics pranced around on models who I couldn’t help but want to befriend. Suzanne’s young daughter was in the audience smile from ear to ear and if that doesn’t make you smile as well, I don’t know what would.
  • Bevza does silks better than anyone else and truly inspired me to want to wear a slicked back braid in my hair everyday. These clothes are definitely made for taller women, but I think a good tailor could fit these garments perfectly on anyone.
  • Area always steals the show and they did it again at their runway at Spring Studios. The stage was set with ginormous beaded curtains and their classic sparkly elements made everyone ooh and ahh, like they always do. If I could have an entire collection in my wardrobe, I’d want it to be this one. Shout out to Kourtney at Ritual Projects for making it a comfortable experience for me when I was having a wildly emotional day.
    The day ended with a show that left me weeping because of its beautiful inclusivity. The Break always makes sure to put on a show where anyone is invited and models are meant to have a good time. Every piece on the runway was vintage and available for purchase after and the finale ended with a dance piece and a giant group hug. Truly a special moment.
September 8th:

 

  • The day started with a trip to Brooklyn for Lou Dallas where a lot of familiar faces of friends walked down the runway while a live band played in an out of this world art center. Pastels and earth toned garments made me wish it was spring already and not an extremely hot September.
  • One of the loveliest women I know with an equally as lovely brand, Priscavera shared their collection in a school courtyard. They remained true to their feminine silhouettes with baggy jeans and silk dresses and the coolest Nike shoes I’d ever seen.
  • The most FASHION show I saw this season in New York was Sies Marjan. Set in a government building with extremely high fashion models, a super tailored collection paired with bright lipsticks and slicked back hair had me dreaming I was taller with an entire color blocked closet.
  • My favorite show this season was definitely Collina Strada. An entire street was blocked off for this one, and it also left me crying. I couldn’t choose exactly which piece was my favorite. Tie dye fabrics, velvets, silk dresses and special pieces made from deadstock fabric warmed everyone’s hearts. Hilary also put reusable bags on every chair so that everyone could take produce at the end from the farmers market she created. You could really tell how much work was put into this because looks were complete with one of a kind shoes, eyeglasses and a message to everyone that there is no Planet B.
September 9th:

 

  • Barragan was another crowd favorite, with an absolutely stunning cast and different garments with cut outs and mini dresses to match.
  • Maryam Nassir Zadeh is always a favorite show of mine because the clothes look like they are made with so much love for the gentlewoman. The show set in a tennis court had pieces ranging from silk flowery tops to matching suiting and outfits that would transition perfectly from day to night. Neon detailing was big here and full looks included vintage inspired bags and scrunchies. Again, I truly wanted everything from this collection.
  • I’ve always been a huge fan of Sandy Liang and her runway was super cute. I imagine her clothes get called that a lot. Since I’m all about flowers, sweaters and tutus, this collection was absolutely perfect to me.

I think inclusivity is what makes fashion special.”

September 10th:

 

  • A new designer I was absolutely fascinated by was Graham Tyler. Set in an old storefront in soho, he showed pieces based off Mary Shelley’s love letters and his fascination with amish culture. Fabrics were digitally printed and tulle details all from one long piece of fabric. If you ask me, I think this young designer is off to an incredible start and if they have a MET Gala this year, someone should snatch up his garments before they become even more of the next best thing. This was probably one of the most thoughtful collections I saw this season.
  • LRS is a brand every cool kid loves to know. They really hit the nail on the head again with a feminine yet punk theme that featured models with giant teased mohawks and draped clothing with studs and flowers.
  • Crowd favorite designer Kim Shui did what she does best and mixed euro trash and chinese culture to create couture. This was another show with a beautiful mix of models and garments that could be transitionally worn at the club or in a fabulous meeting. When asking the designer what she intended for this collection she stated “we wanted the models to look like they were coming out of the club…it was really about playing with sexy.” My favorite thing about her designs are the odes on female liberation and how anyone should be able to wear her clothing no matter where you come from or what your background is.

  • After Kim’s show I made a pit stop at one of my new favorite RTW brands Calle Del Mar and fell in love with a checkered sweater and the designer Aza who is definitely one to watch for this coming year. 
On September 12th I ended fashion week with one of the most creative and loving shows I got the pleasure of seeing. The brand is called SC103 and it’s designed by two best friends Claire Mckinney and Sophie Andes Gascon. My favorite thing about this show is how they let everyone and anyone attend. I think inclusivity is what makes fashion special. One of a kind garments walked down the runway while an acapella group sang love songs. When asking Claire the inspiration for the show, she said, “our first collection together was created for those who are self-assured, unseated and powerful, yet also live with a spirit of lightness.” If you ask me, I think that’s what fashion should stand for and who should wear it.

 

I ended fashion week tired, pumped up for the future, hungry and broke. I reminded myself that it’s okay that I didn’t attend everyone and getting a proper amount of sleep is key. If someone frowns at me, I remember to smile back. I spent a bunch of money on ubers and eating quick meals that probably weren’t good for me. Overall, I think this fashion week was special, but extremely emotional at times. I saw influencers screaming at PR people, designers crying, people only showing up to events to get their photos taken, extremely beautiful and thoughtful designs and a focus on a more sustainable future. If you’re brave enough, I think you should give fashion a chance, but I can definitely say it’s not for the weak at heart. If you’re planning on attending fashion week, make sure you bring your thick skin coat.