I did not ease into Fashion Week this season. I dove right in with the bustling, bass-heavy VFiles Made Fashion runway show on Wednesday night, which, for the second time ever, showcased the collections of three young designers who were crowdsourced and chosen by users of the VFiles digital media platform. As one of the week's only events with totally fresh, never-before-seen talent, I had zero idea of what to expect, which is probably the most fun way to walk into a show.
The energy in the venue was as electric as the crowd was eclectic, and the overarching theme grouping all three designers was that they are heavily influenced by the Internet and teenage culture -- seriously, there were 12-year-olds in the crowd who looked way cooler than I ever will.
The first of the three labels to make the jump from cyberspace to the catwalk was ASSK. The Parisian duo showed looks for both men and women that were influenced by sportswear -- think a tech-y take on camouflage and hunting gear -- and cited tribal culture and hip-hop as inspiration. Models stomped down the runway in combat boots to Destiny's Child's "Survivor," accessorized with statement-making pieces, such as shiny desert caps with long veils and water bottles carried on lanyards like handbags -- a very urban take on utilitarian sports gear.
Next came Melitta Baumeister, a German designer (and recent Parsons MFA grad) who showed a collection in stark black and white with plenty of plays on proportion and volume. Using high-tech materials like neoprene, plastic and silicone in a number of textures -- as well as what looked to be a real bunch of bananas on a pair of shirts -- Baumeister was a crowd-pleaser for the avant-garde audience.
Last but not least came Hyein Seo, an Antwerp-based design student whose inspiration -- heroines of horror films -- was blatantly evident. With Cruella de Vil-like furs patterned with bats and jack-o'-lanterns, as well as punk-inspired patches on jackets and chokers that read "Fear," Seo's collection was more fun than it was frightening.
Click through for a selection of looks from the VFiles class of fall 2014 -- we're betting this isn't the last you'll be seeing of them.