Over the past two weeks, my timeline has been flooded with articles about what isn’t happening during New York Fashion Week (NYFW) – no front rows, no street style, no crowds. Thank the fashion gawds, this isn’t another one of those articles.
Who needs yet another reminder of how the Rona has turned our lives upside down?
And, I know I’m not the only one with this one-sided news in their timeline. Fashion influencers, designers, models, and the like are all abuzz about “what is next.” More specifically, how current changes will impact the industry as a whole and what this can mean for Black brands and designers of color.
While it is true that NYFW – one of the fashion world’s most anticipated events which “started” officially yesterday – won’t look like it has in the past, the fact of the matter is the show must go on. And fashion lovers like me are ready to witness it firsthand and claim our front row seat.
Event managers and fashion designers have had months to plan, re-adjust and, re-configure what virtual fashion shows would look like. Drawing on examples from London, Milan, and other global cities, New York’s turn to display Spring and Summer collections for 2021 is a mix of quaint in-person events, livestreamed shows, and virtual presentations.
Yesterday, Jason Wu kicked off NYFW with an outside oasis stage design with the help of Lowe’s, Harlem Fashion Row held their Style Awards, and Kimberly Goldson stunned the mainstream world with her display of pure #CrownGlory and #BlackGirlMagic. This is just the beginning. There are tons of events to add to your virtual fashion social calendar.
Here’s more on what you can expect, how to participate, and where to find Black and Brown people throughout the schedule.
First Things First – Download the Apps and Hit That Follow Button
The loss of the exclusive in-person element to NYFW has helped us all gain access to runway shows like never before. Several designers are streaming collections and videos on their own web and social platforms and official NYFW planners have recently launched apps for us all to stay tuned.
By the time you finish this article you should 1) visit NYFW.com and download their app, 2) check out the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) site and bookmark Runway360.CFDA.com, and 3) hit the follow button on your favorite designers’ Instagram and Facebook pages.
Pro Tip: Set up a personalized stream on your Facebook by saving designers’ posts and pages into folders. This way you will have you own curated collection of your favorite designers in one place.
Who’s All Going to Be There?
The shortened/virtual schedule has reduced the number of designers participating bringing even more attention to “who’s all going to be there.” This is especially true for Black-owned brands and designers.
Here’s a running list of Black designers and brands to look out for this week: APOTTS, Dur Doux, Frederick Anderson, Frère, Harlem Fashion Row, Kenneth Nicholson, Studio 189, Victor Glemaud, Kimberly Goldson, Kristian Lorén, LaQuan Smith, Oak & Acorn, Rich Fresh, Theophilio, and Who Decides War.
Many of these designers are being featured as part of a collaboration between NYFW organizers and the newly-formed Black in Fashion Council (BIFC). Started by Lindsay Peoples Wagner, Teen Vogue’s editor-in-chief, BIFC is committed raising awareness around the importance of diversity and fashion and helping to gain more representation for Black people within the fashion industry. BIFC will hold a Black in Fashion Discovery Showroom throughout this week providing Black designers a larger platform to promote their collections and hold a town hall meeting on the state of the industry on September 17.
It’s the Information for Me: Virtual Panels and Presentations
In addition to the BIFC town hall, IMG is hosting virtual panels including those that continue important dialogues off the runway. Programs are of note include:
- The “Fashion’s Power to Create Change” panel featuring Studio 189 cofounders Abrima Erwiah on Monday, September 14.
- The “Mentoring the Next Generation” panel featuring Tiffany Reid, vice president at Bustle Digital Group, makeup artist Daniel Martin, and The Wall Group director Ali Bird on September 15; and
- The “Style, Culture and Politics,” session with fashion designer Victor Glemaud, plus size model Precious Lee, curator Kimberly Drew and Vogue’s fashion news director, Chioma Nnadi on Wednesday, September 17.
Making It Work
Honestly, there’s no way to talk about this September’s NYFW without discussing the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, a pending economic recession, and civil unrest. And, there’s no way to know how this will ultimately affect the future of fashion. But the fashion industry is making it work.
For now, I am here for it. You should be too.
Lauren Evette Williams is a seasoned public relations professional, writer, and influencer with her own style and flair. She inspires everyone to use fashion as a tool of power and expression. Follow her on Instagram @dcfashionblogger.