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18 Designers Making Their New York Fashion Week Debuts

Your primer on this week's fresh meat.
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Photo: Self-Portrait

Photo: Self-Portrait

It would seem that no matter how packed the New York Fashion Week calendar gets, there is always room for a few new names. Of course, the calendar also lost a few names this season, namely Band of Outsiders (RIP) and The Row (which is showing in Paris). And the launch of New York Fashion Week: Men's earlier this summer cleared this week's schedule a bit as well.

Which means that if you're keeping up with the shows, you have no excuse not to make time to check out at least a few of the designers making the brave decision to show for the first time. In several cases, they're names you may already know, thanks to early red carpet placements. In other cases, they're names you're going to want to learn quick. And in a few cases, they're names you'll forget just as quickly (it's sad but true).

From alumni of Prada and Oscar de la Renta, to a designer returning to fashion after a long hiatus, to a well-known Instagram star, read on for 16 labels about to make their New York Fashion Week debuts (in the order in which they'll show).

Cadet Women's

While Cadet designers Raul Arevalo and Brad Schmidt have shown their military-inspired menswear at fashion week before, Wednesday morning's presentation will mark their first time showing womenswear. The brand already operates three stores in New York; with this, and being named a finalist for this year's CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, Arevalo and Schmidt could be poised for rapid expansion.

Flagpole Swim

Swimwear is not typically found at New York Fashion Week; in fact, it has its own official fashion week in Miami. But Flagpole is not your typical swimwear brand. Sold by high-fashion retailers like Net-a-Porter and Barneys and favored by the most discerning editors and models, its Wednesday morning presentation could draw a decent crowd.

Warm/Tracy Feith

Michelle Obama in Tracy Feith in 2009. Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Michelle Obama in Tracy Feith in 2009. Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Warm is a cute, under-the-radar multi-brand boutique in New York's Nolita neighborhood, and its presence on the NYFW schedule marks the launch of a new wholesale line and the return of Tracy Feith, who has been tapped to design it. Feith, you may recall, used to have a namesake clothing line that landed a collaboration with Target and was worn by Michelle Obama. It shuttered in 2010. Now, he's back.


Rie Yamagato launched her line in 2011 after studying at both Parsons and Central Saint Martins (where she earned a B.A.) as well as working for Tsumori Chisato and Phillip Lim. Rhié began as a knitwear capsule and is now a full women's ready-to-wear line encompassing knit separates, dresses and outerwear — all wearable, modern and a tad subversive.

Jennifer Fisher

With frequent A-list celebrity placements, retail partnerships with the likes of Barneys and Net-a-Porter and multiple CFDA Award nominations, fine jewelry designer Jennifer Fisher is already an industry darling. Expect a good, insidery turnout (and maybe a few celebs) at her Wednesday evening presentation.

Brother Vellies

A finalist for the 2015 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, this footwear brand founded by Brooklyn-based Toronto native Aurora James has up until now only been to NYFW on the feet of industry insiders. James employs artisans in Africa to create cool, distinctive men's and women's shoes, which she is dedicated to manufacturing as sustainably as possible. Her presentation takes place this Thursday.


A look from Polite's fall 2015 collection. Photo: Polite

A look from Polite's fall 2015 collection. Photo: Polite

Warm is not the only difficult-to-Google new name on the calendar. This season, Colombian-born designer Carlos Polite collaborated with style star Michelle Violy Harper on three looks. With a distinctive, bold aesthetic and the support of a street style mainstay, Polite has all the ingredients for NYFW success.


A look from Area's fall 2015 collection. Photo: Area

A look from Area's fall 2015 collection. Photo: Area

Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszczyk launched Area in 2013 after meeting at Parsons. The designers manipulate textiles to make them their own, resulting in clothes that have a modern, minimalist feel, with an off-kilter edge. They show this Thursday as part of Made Fashion Week.

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M. Martin 

A look from M. Martin's fall 2015 collection. Photo: M. Martin

A look from M. Martin's fall 2015 collection. Photo: M. Martin

Launched by Paper Denim & Cloth founder Alex Gilbert and former Prada womenswear director Jennifer Noyes, new women’s ready-to-wear label M.Martin is all about updating the classic American sportswear aesthetic for a new generation. Think timeless wardrobe staples like denim jackets and sweaters, done in new and interesting ways. The brand will make its NYFW debut this Thursday.

Raquel Allegra

Sold in stores like Barneys and Assembly, Los Angeles-based Raquel Allegra is known for simple clothes with a worn-in feel. She got her start experimenting with oversized T-shirts recycled from the Los Angeles County Prison System, and has since matured her aesthetic.

Max Gengos

Twenty-five year old Max Gengos (pronounced jenn-joss) used to work as a designer at Calvin Klein and recently had a piece commissioned by Teen Vogue for Kylie Jenner's cover story. Known for flattering silhouettes and infinity hems, Gengos's theme for spring 2016 will be "Neo-Tropico." He shows on Friday.


It would seem that Karigam designer Karina Gamez intends to make a splash with her debut NYFW show this Friday. We've already been alerted that Jamie Chung and Solange Knowles are slated to attend, and Hilary Rhoda and Jessica Stam — who both star in the brand's spring 2016 campaign — are confirmed to walk the runway. Her entire collection is produced in New York with Italian fabrics and finishings.

Jonathan Cohen

Jonathan Cohen launched his line in 2011 after graduating from Parsons and doing stints at Doo.Ri Chung, Ashleigh Verrier and Oscar de la Renta, where he apprenticed. The women's luxury line includes day and evening wear, and marries classic construction with experimentation — with color, prints and cuts. Celebrity stylist Micaela Erlanger told us she's a fan and has already put her client Lupita Nyong'o in the line. Cohen makes his NYFW debut on Friday.


Han Chong, a Malaysia native and graduate of Central Saint Martins, launched Self-Portrait in 2013. His feminine dresses, with their intricate designs and impressive attention to detail, have already become a red carpet mainstay, which make their accessible price point all the more surprising. Dresses fall in the $500 to $600 range. Self-Portrait has already nabbed entry into some big retail doors (Net-a-Porter, Bergdorf Goodman) and onto the backs of celebrity clients (Rachel McAdams, Kerry Washington) that more established brands would kill for. And that's all without having ever shown at fashion week, which he will do Saturday. Watch out.


Thanks at least in part to connections made through their former employer, Oscar de la Renta, the engaged founders of Monse, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim, have already dressed Sarah Jessica Parker and Amal Clooney in their designs, which you can't even buy yet. The label launches officially this Saturday, and our expectations are high.

Brandon Maxwell

Lady Gaga in a Brandon Maxwell design at the Grammy Awards in February. Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Lady Gaga in a Brandon Maxwell design at the Grammy Awards in February. Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

One of this week's most highly anticipated debuts is that of Brandon Maxwell, stylist to none other than Lady Gaga, who will show his first collection ever on Monday. He's credited with taking the pop star in a more elegant direction, so expect the collection to be filled with timeless glamour.


A look from the Pamplemousse resort 2016 collection. Photo: Pamplemousse

A look from the Pamplemousse resort 2016 collection. Photo: Pamplemousse

In my mind at least, Pamplemousse has always just been the most amusing word ever uttered in an eighth grade French class (it means grapefruit) — until now, that is. Danica Zheng, a Chinese designer raised in Singapore, launched the line this year after studying at Parsons and working for Calvin Klein collection. Her debut resort collection had a feminine, effortless-chic thing going on and we're excited to see what she does next on Tuesday.

The Fat Jewish

You know him from Instagram, White Girl Rosé and come next Wednesday, "dad fashion," according to the invitation for his NYFW debut. We're not sure what that means, but we'll soon find out.

Homepage photo: Brian Ach/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

This post was updated to remove designer Xiao Li, as he is no longer planning to show, and to add designer Jonathan Cohen.