After another year of struggle for fashion brands and even more questioning of the relevance of New York Fashion Week, you might be wondering, why are people still launching fashion brands and choosing to show them at New York Fashion Week? We wonder that too sometimes, but they still are. It's a good thing especially in a season where many marquee names are decamping to show in Europe instead.
Here, we're highlighting 16 brands who are showing for the first time this season, because putting yourself out there and investing in your dream is definitely worth respect, if nothing else. This season is also a big one for group shows — a smart way for up-and-coming talent to showcase their work more affordably. And you never know: One of them really could end up being the Next Big Thing.
Ahlem is an up-and-coming eyewear brand designed in LA by Ahlem Manai-Platt. The Paris native is based in Venice (CA) but is inspired by her home city and has everything handmade in France. LA and Paris always make for a charming aesthetic combination and she's also one of this year's CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists.
Snow Xue Gao
This VFiles alum is fresh out of Parsons and at a critical point in her career. Will she build on the momentum of her successful graduate collection? Hard to know, but her knack for exaggerated proportions, asymmetrical finishes and contrasting textures with East-meets-West influences could certainly catch on.
Matthew Adams Dolan
Matthew Adams Dolan has already generated lots of up-and-comer attention for his menswear — which showed at this past NYFW: Men's — and his designs for Rihanna. Known for doing some pretty impressive stuff with denim, Dolan is making what is sure to be a buzzy debut on the women's calendar.
Helmut Lang by Shayne Oliver
Speaking of buzz... we all know the names Helmut Lang and Shayne Oliver but this NYFW will mark the debut of their alliance with Oliver having (perhaps temporarily) ditched his line Hood by Air to create a special collection for the iconic New York brand.
You've almost certainly heard of accessories brand Eugenia Kim, but this is the first time she's presenting her signature hats at New York Fashion Week. The occasion? Her brand's 20th anniversary.
Designers Steven Hoffman and Ramin Paksima literally describe their brand as "Indian Rick Owens." The vegan, unisex, made-in-New York luxury label marries a minimalist aesthetic with Indian draping details and will be making its overall debut this NYFW.
This week will also see the debut collection of Anon Atelier — a line of directional-yet-wearable wardrobe staples. Designer buds Alexa Chapman and Jess Stone produce everything within the U.S.
This Toronto-based line was named womenswear designer of the year at last year's Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards and is now poised make its debut in the U.S. Designers Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong will be bringing lots of "sequins and high-octane hues" to their debut New York show, per a press release. Sounds fun, eh?
Going by a press release at least, Livari is one of those brands that's as much about the clothes as it is about the ethos behind the clothes. It's women-led, zero-waste and made ethically in New York. Also a fun fact: one of the founders is "Orange Is the New Black" actress Alysia Reiner. (The others are Claudine DeSola and Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs.)
This Milan-based streetwear brand has already gotten the cosign of Kendall Jenner, so it's only a matter of time before these four letters start showing up everywhere. Founders Giuliano and Giordano Calza will be showing as part of Made Fashion Week.
Another Made newbie is Priscavera. New York-based Prisca Vera Franchetti marries youth culture with traditional craftsmanship and distinctive branding for a line that, overall, we can't help but describe with the most overused term: "cool."
Baised in Ukraine, Svitlana Bevza is gaining attention internationally for her clean, simple silhouettes.
Based in Shanghai, Jarel Zhang is known for innovative construction techniques the likes of which we don't often see in New York.
Founded in 2013 by artist Raffaella Hanley, Lou Dallas can be seen as a baroque response to the minimalism that has reigned supreme the last few years. While inspired by the past, the line has a distinctively modern flair.
While not the first plus-size brand to show at New York Fashion Week, LA-based Torrid is showing here for the first time and the growing presence of more inclusive sizing on the runway is never a bad thing.
Kith Sport/Emily Oberg
While Kith has presented during NYFW before, this will mark the first time for Kith Sport, and with the heavy involvement of Complex contributor-turned-documentarian-slash-influencer-slash-designer Emily Oberg. We're told she helped design the clothes and is styling all the women's looks in the show alongside Ronnie Fieg, to give a fuller picture of the Kith girl.
Each year, VFiles chooses three promising designers from its engaged online community to take part in this typically-wild group show, which gets bigger every year. This time, it's taking place at Barclays and we'll see:
NYFW: First Stage
This new program is specifically designed to give international designers a platform to show in the U.S. market. The inaugural beneficiaries, who each have their own slot on the schedule, are:
Just In Case
CFDA & Lifwtr Presentation
The CFDA also has a new group platform for emerging designers in collaboration with Lifewter that also provides them with mentoring. (The designers' prints will be used on water bottles.) This season's participants are:
For years, the Concept Korea program has been introducing designers from the ever-influential (particularly in beauty, but also in fashion) country to the U.S. This year's ones to watch are:
Lie by Chung Chung Lee (son of renowned Seoul fashion designer/house Lie SangbongANGBONG)
Greedilous by Younhee Park.
One of NYFW's bigger group shows, this season's lineup for Sept. 8 includes the following:
All Comes From Nothing
Trade by Gina La Morte