Is New York Fashion Week still the wellspring of promising new talent it once was? That probably depends who you ask: The list of designers making their New York Fashion Week debuts this Spring 2019 season isn't as long as it's been in past seasons, but it's not insignificant, either. Despite all the recent talk of a broken fashion system, the movement by top designers away from the traditional New York Fashion Week schedule, and the simple fact that a strong Instagram presence alone can be a pathway to success, the biannual event still has its merits as a platform that is recognized by press, buyers and consumers globally.
This year's list features designers both new and established. Recent SCAD graduate Christopher John Rogers is effectively using NYFW as his initial launchpad. Chris Peters of celebrated label Creatures of the Wind is using it to debut a new solo project. Escada is a 40-year-old a legacy brand using it to target the U.S. market and showcase a change in creative direction. Rihanna is using it show show lingerie in an "immersive experience!"
Some are on the official CFDA calendar while others are showing independently; some could go on to show for years and become huge stars while others may never be heard from again. Read on to learn who they are.
Christopher John Rogers
About one year ago, we asked if eveningwear designer Christopher John Rogers could become the next big name in American luxury fashion. The recent SCAD graduate had already won sponsorships from Swarovski, BCI International and SAGA furs, and was preparing to soft-launch his debut collection. And on Sept. 6, he'll be on a global stage for the first time. Per a brand bio, Rogers "aims to target and serve the authentic." In a time when authenticity is more important than ever, we're especially excited to see how that's illustrated within his collection.
Founded in New York in 2015 by Matthew Breen and Andrea Tsao, Devaux — which began as a menswear brand — is focused on easy, everyday pieces that are luxurious and modern. This February, it hired famed street style photographer Tommy Ton as its artistic director. He's since designed two menswear collections and showed at NYFW: Men's; Sept. 10 will mark the brand's NYFW and womenswear debut.
Munich-based luxury label Escada is in the midst of a revamp led by new Design Director Niall Sloan, for whom Spring 2019 will mark the second collection and first runway show. The NYFW debut will also mark the brand's 40th anniversary. "Since Escada was founded in 1978, America has always been a significant market for the brand, this remains the case today — so it feels natural to celebrate this important anniversary in New York, as well as presenting Niall's vision for its future to an international audience," said CEO Iris Epple-Righi in a statement.
The once-buzzy, CFDA Award-winning label Creatures of the Wind was noticeably absent from the NYFW calendar last season, and on Sept. 5, one half of the duo (and married couple) behind that brand — Chris Peters — will debut his first solo project, a unisex brand called CDLM. According to Vogue, the designs will be available in October, exclusively at Dover Street Market's new Los Angeles location. Oh, and CotW is apparently still very much in existence.
Self-described "fashion movement" Discount Universe was founded nine years ago in Melbourne. It usually shows in Australia, but made an appearance in New York in 2015 as part of the VFiles group show. The brand recently relocated to New York and on Sept. 6, it will make its standalone runway debut at NYFW, and we bet it won't go unnoticed. The brand, whose collections always put forth themes of humor and subversion, has built a huge following and community online, and dressed celebs like Rihanna, Katy Perry, Kylie Jenner and Miley Cyrus.
The ubiquitous French handbag brand has chosen its 70th anniversary to stage its first full-scale runway show in New York on Sept. 8. The U.S. market has been a priority for the company lately with it having recently opened a Fifth Avenue flagship, collaborated with New York designer Shayne Oliver, and launched a campaign with Kendall Jenner. It's also expanded its ready-to-wear offering, hence the decision to hit the runway — twice. There will also be a show in Paris, though the two will differ, with Paris celebrating the past while New York looks ahead to the future.
Savage X Fenty
Rihanna is back on the NYFW calendar — but not with Puma. This time, she'll showcase her new lingerie line with a "see now, buy now" show on Sept. 12 that a press release describes as an "immersive experience." Her previous shows and parties have been full-blown spectacles (in a good way) and we're confident this will be no exception — especially because it's closing out NYFW.
No, we don't know how to say this brand's name and may never be able to remember how many 'F's come after the slash. What we do know is that it's a Chinese, sportswear-influenced men's and womenswear brand founded by Zac Zeng in 2017 and launched at Shanghai Fashion Week. It will make its NYFW debut Sept. 9.
Another brand that will take a few tries to get the spelling right, Subterannei is a new label by 22-year-old Alina Tsyganova, who hails from Moscow and is still currently enrolled in the fashion design program at Parsons, though she's also already studied at Central Saint Martins. Her line is inspired by "subterranean" culture and individuality.
Another brand is making the most of today's resurgence of '90s and early-aughts trends: Following a recent collaboration with Opening Ceremony on platform sneakers, Buffalo London is making its NYFW debut to celebrate the reintroduction of some of its iconic styles in the U.S. The brand is best known for being a top shoe resource for the Spice Girls if that gives you any indication of the aesthetic. Models will be clothed by Next Century, Century21's concept store, at the Sept. 10 presentation.
CFDA + LIFEWTR
Sponsored by Lifewtr, the CFDA will host three emerging designers on Sept. 6:
Ji Won Choi
Once again, VFiles will host a show for designers chosen by its online community; but, for the first time, the show — which includes musical performances — will be open to the public. The designers are:
Homepage photo: Christopher John Rogers collection 001. Photo: Lia Clay