New York Fashion Week (NYFW) came in with a gale (quite literally, as the city had a snow day on February, 9, 2017) and designers stormed the runways for the next seven days with a resounding message: the personal is political. For those who think fashion is only about clothes, think again.
From Raf Simons’ debut as the new king of Calvin Klein to Thom Browne (named the best show of the season by The New York Times) to newcomer Lindsay Jones for Músed, designers used their collections to voice political and cultural unrest, as people worry for the rights of women, immigrants, gay and transgender people, and anyone disenfranchised under an oppressive Trump regime. The artistry of NYFW shows maintain the fact that at this level, fashion is wearable, personal art. With that in mind, designers of NYFW used art to send a message. As Jones of Músed says, art is vital; “it’s one of the best ways to communicate.” What exactly did designers of NYFW have to say? The following trend takeaways reveal the most urgent messages from NYFW.
Still an American: Color blocking at Calvin Klein
Named the new head at the house known for minimalism, Calvin Klein, Raf Simons opened his show with a bold color blocked look. Note the colors here are red, white, and blue. The message: this is still our country, so let’s make America a place to be proud in. As President Obama reminded us in his final address to the nation, it’s time for people to participate in culture.
Women are the new men: Women in menswear at Thom Browne
Dressing men in women’s clothing has been de rigeur for a couple seasons, as the fashion world is one industry that acknowledges gender fluidity. But at Thom Browne, all looks featured women dressed in menswear: there wasn’t one dress to be seen on the runway. The message: women can do what men do (and conversely men can do what women do). This, to me, is the definition of feminism.
Don’t lose sight of hope: Subtle embroidery at The Row
Simplicity is a new trend takeaway from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s label The Row, known more for chic bohemian overdressing. However, this season, the crisp white shirt with subtle embroidery of hope marks a departure worth noting. The message: don’t erase the eight years of progress, run on the promise of hope from President Obama’s campaign to his initiatives, no matter how hard the current administration tries to eradicate rights such as legal gay marriage, universal healthcare, and general inclusiveness.
Fight for the right to be human: Slogan T-shirts at Prabal Gurung
Slogan t-shirts aren’t going anywhere, as high fashion has co-opted this streetwear trend, and incorporated it into their lines, like at Prabai Gurung. With slogans like “Love is Love,” “We’re Still Here,” and “I am an Immigrant,” there’s no dancing around the message. The message: be loud and proud and wear your identity.
Inclusivity is everything: Model diversity at Christian Siriano
Christian Siriano has been a champion of plus-size models for a couple of seasons now, and this year was no exception. One-third of the models on his catwalk were women of color, plus-sized or both, according to USA Today. The message: beauty is inclusive, an important thing to remember when your president makes fun of disabled and obese people and thinks it’s acceptable to voice these opinions in public. Here’s a reminder that it is not OK to have these opinions. It’s despicable.
And with that, NYFW comes to a close, sending messages for the world to reflect upon.