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The Council of Fashion Designers of America created the modern notion of a centralised ‘New York Fashion Week’ in the early 90s, although the concept is based on a much older series of events called ‘Press Week,’ established back in 1943. As the programme’s roster of shows has received criticism in recent years for becoming over commercialised, a new school of young labels and creatives, showing their work on and off the schedule, are safeguarding New York’s position as a global centre of fashion innovation. Something Curated takes a closer look the young designers maintaining New York Fashion Week as one of the most exciting events of the annual fashion calendar.



Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond’s pieces were brightly illuminated in the dark of a rainy September evening. Beautifully cut, the combination of light, neutral tones with playful accents, executed with a skilled hand, took form in plissé asymmetric skirts, printed tunics and cotton collared tops. A draped silk evening dress flowed by, alongside prints of work by New York-based multimedia artist Derrick Adams.



Designer Telfar Clemens staged his SS19 show of unisex clothes around live performers, including FAKA, the queer South African music and performance art duo comprised of Fela Gucci and Desire Marea. Subtly reinterpreting recognisable silhouettes, he widened shirt collars, raised the waistline on cotton pants and made the legs a little looser and longer. Memorably, jeans, reconstructed from various washes, were cut into chaps, fused with printed logos.



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@kotaokuda via @parsonsfashionmfa 💸

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A larger than usual cohort of talented young designers at Parsons MFA meant a bigger graduate showcase this year, with 14 designers’ work taking to the runway this Fashion Week. Among the most memorable looks of the presentation was Kota Okuda’s money-clip mini-dress. According Okuda’s Instagram, her collection aims to “redefine the American currency by commodifying its value in an alchemistic system of dress.”



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Ur loofah could never 💜💚💜💚 @sensenlii

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Among the line-up, Parsons graduate Elena Velez’s pared-back looks, fabricated from reclaimed silk used to make World War II parachutes, enveloped models’ bodies in translucent layers. Antwerp’s Sensen Lii of Windowsen went for theatrics, with psychedelic masks and neon colours, while Chinese design duo Wei Wang and Tim Shi of Marrknull provided a dose of playful sportswear. And VFiles’s own Yellow Label featured the work of Hood By Air alum Paul Cupo.



As part of the CFDA and Lifewtr partnership this year, textile designer Ji Won Choi and menswear designers Daniel Cloke and Jamall Osterholm were platformed. Osterholm looks to race, identity and gender to challenge stereotypical notions in his work. On his collection, he explained to CFDA, “An all-black “Alien Race” has been used as a metaphor to describe myself today and addresses stereotypes that surround my identity, ultimately, giving me the opportunity to define my own narrative.”



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@gauntlettcheng 💧🧚🏻‍♀️🐳

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Designed by Esther Gauntlett and Jenny Cheng in New York City, Gauntlett Cheng’s latest offering included a series of loose-fitting knits, taking the form of tanks, slip-dresses, shorts and track pants, among other garments. A joyous floral print overlaid on a sumptuous green silk made a memorable appearance among the otherwise subdued colour palette.



Opening Ceremony showcased its SS19 collection during New York Fashion Week in an event dubbed “The Gift of Showz,” as it was an homage to drag queen culture hosted by Sasha Velour, season nine winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Colourful parkas and tracksuits made in conjunction with Columbia, and deconstructed Lacoste polo shirts stood out. Alongside the LGBTQIA+ cast, Christina Aguilera made a guest appearance.



This season, Eckhaus Latta relocated to a space slightly further out in Bushwick, on an upper level of an industrial building where sheet metal was being cut on the ground floor. They showed sheer t-shirts, intricately beaded tops, and dresses of spiderweb crochet, presented alongside jeans dip-dyed and tie-dyed and trimmed with fringe, colour-blocked knits in cool pastels, plaid dresses and polos in a floral jacquard.



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Exploring ideas of ambiguity, technology and subcultures, Luar designer Raul Lopez expresses the diasporic experience of a Dominican-American with unrelenting artistic vision. Having previously presented deconstructions of office wear, dress vests, cornrows that look like computer wires, and coats tailored backward or off the body, Lopez creates subversive garments free from gender.



Satirising trends in current-day society, F/FFFFFF utilises a highly saturated colour palette weaved into today’s popular athletic street style aesthetic. The label’s designer, Zac Zeng, having grown up amidst the dual influence of craft and art, believes that apparel should fuse past heritage and the future, that it is a language to decipher the unspoken.



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MAD SS19 photographed by @vnina for @tmagazine

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Matthew Adams Dolan’s interpretation of McCardell-style utility featured trousers trailing on the floor and denim overall-style vests holding up jackets which flowed like trains behind the wearer. The colour palette was part 90s activewear neons and part pastels, coming together in silhouettes that referenced everything from 50s couture tailoring and ravers, to school uniforms.


Feature image: Telfar SS19 Show (via NOWFASHION)

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