To limit fashion in New York to one week is to miss the point of the city’s notion of getting dressed. In a city that’s so vertical—in the skyscrapers, rooftop parties, and the ideology of rising ambition—New York is in the midst of defining horizontal fashion, an egalitarian take on dressing that’s about to rock Trump’s America.
What is horizontal fashion?
Telfar Clemens of Telfar, a finalist for this year’s Council of Fashion Designers of America award, brought up the idea of horizontal fashion at a recent dinner for his SS18 collection. He tells Vogue, “I don’t believe in appropriation, or mixing high and low. I see fashion as horizontal.” In other words, the designer encourages you to use clothing as an equalizer. This comes at a time when FLOTUS wears stilettos to visit hurricane victims.
To illustrate the idea of horizontal fashion, Clemens, a Queens native who spent many a night binging on the famous square-shaped burgers, partnered with White Castle for the aforementioned dinner. Telfar “White Castle uniforms” will be available to the public for SS18. White Castle calls Telfar’s design initiative democratic in a press statement for the collaboration.
Horizontal fashion is not particularly a new concept, although now it has a name. Last season, the fashion world saw Louis Vuitton tap Supreme for a collaboration, Dior cast A$AP Rocky as a the face of his menswear label, and Gucci launched an interactive app for travelers to visit places that have inspired the label’s legacy. Rather than the dominant culture co-opting a subculture for profit, something that the fashion industry is famous for, the tide has turned, or at the very least, shifted. Subculture and dominant culture are intermingling in a way that’s more dynamic than it has been in the past.
“When you’re cruising you’re horizontal,” says Matt Kruz of the Gnarmads (pictured above). “[In a city that’s so] vertical and stiff, you can cut through all that [on your board]. It gives you freedom.”
Freedom is a key notion of horizontal fashion, a sartorial movement emerging at a time when people are navigating resistance in Trump’s America.