The four-city fashion week marathon just ended its first leg in New York City, where designers debuted their upcoming collections at this year’s New York Fashion Week (NYFW), which ran from Feb. 8-16.
Fashion Week — which normally has fashion editors, journalists and bloggers running from show to show — had a schedule that was less packed than before. Many designers, such as Thom Browne and Proenza Schouler, made a decision to display their collections in another city.
There has also been a trend of designers challenging the concept of fashion week; Kanye West launched his new YEEZY collection on Instagram, and Tommy Hilfiger is hosting his shows in different countries and at different time periods.
Despite the disappearance of many designers, this year’s first NYFW was vibrant and filled with many creative ideas. The shows displayed a return to the 80s, voiced many important messages and showed fashion’s heightened acceptance for diversity.
In Vogue magazine’s video, “Vogue’s Anna Wintour on the Best Moments of New York Fashion Week” Wintour — the editor-in-chief of Vogue — commented on the cultural changes reflected in the fashion industry.
“A fashion show does not exist in a vacuum. It is reflecting our culture. The biggest cultural shift in the last several months obviously has been women and how they have been treated in the workplace,” Wintour said. “There’s no way that this was not on the designer’s mind.”
Wintour attributes the return of trends from the 80s to this cultural shift. The bold shoulder of the 80s made a huge comeback during NYFW, with designers such as Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford presenting suits and jackets with a clear emphasis on the shoulder.
The suit skirt was also spotted multiple times — during the Jason Wu and Calvin Klein shows, for instance — following the women’s empowerment trend. In celebration of women’s empowerment, Alexander Wang actually held his show in an office setting with clothes that had bold messages like “CEO 2018.”
Wang expressed why he wanted to make such a collection in an interview with Vogue.com.
“I’m blessed and honored to work with such incredible, smart, powerful women. It felt timely to do a collection that reflects a different part of my life,” Wang said.
Wang’s collection had a very executive look, perhaps asserting women’s place in the workforce.
Magenta was also spotted on the runway multiple times, making it a notable NYFW trend in many fashion publications. Bright colored fur coats (both faux and real) were also a statement item on many runway shows. However, they were styled very differently.
For example, Christian Cowan showcased a bright red fur coat with an LED heart, paired with a pair of red tights. Meanwhile, Michael Kors’ bright yellow below-the-knee fur coat was styled with denim jeans and a black and white striped top.
Another notable trend from this season’s NYFW (and a clear return to the 80s) was the animal prints. Bright multi-colored leopard prints were seen at many shows, whether it was R13’s orange pantsuit or Victoria Beckham’s long tan-orange coat.
One very positive trend — which even Anna Wintour remarked on — was the diversity of models in the shows. There was a strong representation of models of colors on the runway and an emerging trend of these models walking in the shows with their natural hair.
Models of different shapes and sizes were also seen more than usual, with top brands like Christian Siriano and Chromat having plus-size models walk on their runways.
Chromat admirably took diversity and inclusion a step further. There was a model with a prosthetic leg and a breast cancer survivor in the show, displaying the brand’s goal of embracing the community.
But despite the heightened diversity in runway shows, TeenVogue.com published an op-ed on Feb. 15 discussing the exclusion of plus-size and colored fashionistas in street-style photography.
According to the article, street-style photographers have a much clearer interest in taking photos of thin white women than those of other demographics. However, the piece also questions whether it was the photographers fault; they were simply taking pictures that clients would want.
This year’s NYFW was a mixture of hopeful messages. The New York fashion industry was clearly trying to empower women with their clothes and the powerful messages they conveyed. There has also been huge improvements in the diversity of models walking the runway. Perhaps this improvement could trickle into street-style photography.
Although New York’s Fashion Week has come to an end, the excitement has just begun in Europe. There are three more cities — London, Milan and Paris — with many talented designers waiting to display their clothes and messages to the world.