Our NYFW SS19 Highlights

Words: Joshua Green
Feature Image: Chromat

This seasons NYFW commenced with designers both experienced and new presenting their collections. Aside from the fabrics, cuts and colours, the true embellishments of the week for us were the acts of purpose in . We’ve selected our roundup of the highlights of the week to share the uplifting nature of an inclusive fashion experience.

 

Chromat’s ‘Sample Size’ Tees

 

Founder Becca McCharen-Tran is one of the leading designers bringing a more inclusive and diverse runway. On Friday, she presented her S/S 19 collection for Chromat and finished with a spectacular finale. Statement graphic T-shirts that read “Sample Size” were worn by models who by the current, longstanding industry standard, were not sample size. This was a powerful move by Chromat, bringing a body positive message to one of the biggest fashion weeks in the world.

In-addition to this, Brooklyn model, amputee and model-activist, Mama Cax, also made her Fashion Week debut on the Chromat runway. At 14 she was diagnosed with bone and lung cancer, losing her right leg soon after with an amputation at the hip.

“I’ve always loved what the brand represents, and the diversity of their models,” Cax said on the topic of Chromat’s fashion shows.

On Chromat’s official website, they declare, “Our goal is to encourage more designers to sample their collection in a range of sizes, in order to celebrate all different size bodies on the runway.” It’s clear that this is a message still needing to be heard as of the 84 brands showing at NYFW this season, only 12 sell clothing in a size 16 or above.

Chromat’s accounts were used to speak out about sample sizes stating that the term ‘sample sizing’ tends to be an excuse that other designers cite as a reason to why they don’t feature a range of sizes in their runway shows. “At Chromat, we know that the designer has the power to choose what size they prototype their collection in.” however, they then declare that

 

Brandon Maxwell’s Finale

 

GIVING BACK IS THE MOST FASHIONABLE THING WE CAN DO! This is me dancing with excitement hours before my SS19 show. This was such a major collection for me and my team; together we designed something that we felt was beautiful and represented where I came from and that also allowed us to give back in a big way to Marfa, Texas, the place where I designed this collection, through our partnership with @kiamotorsusa . While I was in Marfa I learned that the their education system is in dire need of funding that is necessary to achieve educational standards. I am honored to partner with Kia as they make a substantial donation to the Marfa Schools and launch their new line, the #KiaTelluride, that was at my show on Saturday evening. A #KiaTelluride will be gifted to the teachers, enabling them to commute to Austin and Dallas for continual professional training. Additionally, Kia will be providing funding for technological advancements and educational programming necessary to give children of Marfa the quality education they deserve. I would never be where I am without the support of others and my own education. Together with Kia, we hope to afford others the opportunity to realize their full potential and chase their dreams. Thank you @kiamotorsusa — this means so much <3

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Designer Brandon Maxwell made sure to put the focus on the women who make his brand a possibility at his 2018 New York Fall show. Held at the Appel Room, even before the event began, a note was left on each attendee’s seat with an avowal of love: to all the women in his life, those whom make his shows possible, and to the women who wear his designs.

This clear devotion was then further disclosed when he invited all the women who had helped with his collection onto the runway; met with applause from the models (including Jourdan Dunn, Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss and Lily Aldridge who is five months pregnant), the crowd and Maxwell himself. He then walked his mother onto the runway, celebrating not only the women he works with, within the fashion industry, but the women in his family.

Lily Aldridge took to social media to express her pride and delight about being a part of the significant show while also walking it pregnant, describing it as “a moment I’ll look back on forever with great emotion.” She also added as a gesture to Maxwell, “Thank you Brandon for letting me shine & being such a true gentleman, Love your forever!!”

Two weeks before the show, Brandon Maxwell wrote a heartfelt Instagram post stating, “My life dream was always to be able to use whatever talents I had to help women feel strong and powerful” “I felt more of a responsibility this season than I ever have before, to the women that wear our clothes, to the women that make them, and to myself, to do better, to be better.”

 

Stella Nolasco

 

Showcasing her collection at NYFW, Stella Nolasco brought optimism and compassion to her show. On September 20th, Hurricane Maria caused devastation to her preparations – losing power to her atelier, her house flooding, and her seamstresses losing everything. Based in Puerto Rico, it caused substantial damage to the US territory and left Puerto Rico without power or communications for several months.

“It was a month of heavy depression, until I decided to make this collection and give it a purpose to help my country,” Nolasco told AFP.

The show itself featured models waving Puerto Rican flags and banners reading, “We Are US Citizens” & “Can’t Say American Without The Rican”, protesting the federal government’s poor response to the disaster. Currently authorities are still struggling to produce clean drinking water and restore power, with total damages costing around $90 Billion.

Nolasco has said that all proceeds from the collection will be donated to the Foundation for Puerto Rico to raise funds for better infrastructure and sustainability.

 

Studio 189

 

We were working on a special project a few months ago and We wanted to make sure that we were designing clothes with various people in mind so We asked @mamacaxx what she felt was missing in the market. She said something along the lines of “you don’t need to do all of that. You should be the brand that you are. But representation matters… and we need to see someone that looks like me reflected.”… she opened our whole mind up. She encouraged us to take more steps back and look at the same situation from more points of view. We are so proud of our runway and what it represents… and the message of love that we received from guests and people that felt seen with dignity and grace has been uplifting. Thank you to @giannie_couji for your women’s casting & @mr_baldwinstyle for men’s casting. And to @solangefranklin for your overall fashion direction to help make our vision a reality in every way. (More credits and thanks to come). #fashionrising #studio189 📸 @theoluwaseye

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Studio 189 is a Ghana-based artist collective, co-founded by actress Rosario Dawson and childhood friend Abrima Erwiah. With their debut NYFW show this year, they showcased a diverse, vibrant collection full of colour and patterns featuring artisanal craftmanship, embracing the spirit of Ghana.

The brand promotes sustainability with their African/ African-inspired products. Their clothing line, “Fashion Ring,” sources artesian-produced fabrics made from organic cotton grown by small, independent farmers. Several of the textiles are hand painted, using natural dyes and are also often hand-loomed.

With their debut collection at NYFW and as a brand as a whole, one of their prime goals was to change the narrative that is attached to African-made goods.

“When you see that brand – that label “Made in Italy” it doesn’t matter what brand is attached to it. You just automatically think that it’s valuable and it’s important and somehow the narrative and the story has been twisted that if it’s coming from Africa that it’s charity or it’s somehow ‘less-than’ and it should be bargained down. And that makes no sense,” said Rosario Dawson.