New York Fashion Week is just around the corner, and it’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed trying to keep up with all of the shows and after parties occurring in only one week’s time. And while some of our favorite designers are taking a break from the NYFW scene this season, there are still a multitude of both well and lesser-known brands who continue to keep us on the edge of our seats. In addition to our usual favorites - CDG, Givenchy, Alexander Wang, Thom Browne - we’ve compiled a list of brands we’ll be keeping our eyes on at this season’s busy NYFW. Check out our favorites collected below, all in one place, just for you.
It makes sense to start off our list with VFiles, as every season they award a handful of different, selected designers a stage (literally) to show off their work. The lineups are globally cast and aesthetically different (although always with an avant-garde edge), having previously showcased up-and-coming talent like Gypsy Sport, Hyein Seo, and Discount Universe. Not to mention that the front rows and lively runway shows are always jampacked with the coolest tastemaker talent from both the fashion and music worlds. (Stay tuned for our coverage of this season’s NFYW runway show!)
Parisian designer Glenn Martens has a way of elevating the ordinary and draws his inspiration from a variety of subcultures and eras - last season in particular, when he blurred 18th century and 21st century fashions into cohesive, covetable streetwear looks. In our minds, Martens is the king of denim at the moment, and while we might not yet have the courage to rock a pair of chaps-esque denim or jeans that button-up on themselves IRL, we can’t get enough of watching them walk the runway.
It’s not often that you come across carefully made, beautifully designed dresses emblazoned with a fruits-and-tampons print, but that’s just one of the many fun and unusual details from the mind of Sandy Liang. Last season, Liang expanded her usual offering of dresses and separates into some incredible outerwear pieces styled alongside shearling mohawk beanies (which was also Liang’s first foray into accessories). Quirky, modern, and oh-so-wearable, we’re looking forward to seeing what this designer shows next.
Huq originally made a name for himself and his brand with youthful pieces like Pepto-pink track pants and a coat emblazoned with a portrait of Tila Tequila, attracting fans like model Hari Nef. And with a fashion label that was only born two years ago, Huq is already veering away from his previous “teens in the suburbs” looks to a more luxury, downtown prep aesthetic. When it comes to this season for the “downtown designer with uptown values,” we’d love to see him execute a nice mix of both aesthetics.
The name “Beaufille” translates to “handsome girl” and symbolizes the contrast between masculine and feminine elements; the combination of hard and soft. This kind of unification is certainly reflected in the collections from co-designers and sisters Chloé and Parris Gordon. Their young brand has been both editorially and commercially successful - a rare feat - with favorites like their angular cropped flares and languid slip dresses adorned by Kendall Jenner and Lily Aldridge.
Chromat is another of our favorite brands known for their diversity, from its runway models to its clothing designs. This multiformity was exemplified by their fashion week show last fall, which featured an array of talent from transgender model Carmen Carrera and disabled beauty Lauren Wasser to curvy babes Denise Bidot and Iskra Lawrence. The message that designer Becca McCharen sends with her model selection is just as inviting and refreshing as her body-positive designs, and we’re looking forward to seeing what she’s serving up this season.
Since the moment that Raf Simons joined Calvin Klein as their new Chief Creative Officer last August, all eyes have been on the designer, waiting to see where he would take the beloved legacy brand. Simons debuted his first collection last season and to a front row packed with superfans ranging from A$AP Rocky and Gwyneth Paltrow to Naomie Harris and Millie Bobby Brown. And if the recently revealed redesign of the brand’s NYC flagship store is any indication, this season’s collection will continue to flaunt Simons’ maximalist twists on the iconically minimal CK designs.
Like Beaufille, Christopher Esber is a nouveau-minimalist brand with designs that incorporate a level of sophisticated ease. The pieces in his collections include interesting details like extra high slits on skirts and dresses or unusually-placed cutouts on beautiful tops, totally elevating a line of simple separates. When it comes to basic closet staples that aren’t so basic, we really look no further.
While Mr. West may not always be the first to launch a new trend with his seasonal collections (i.e. oversized tops paired with thigh-high boots), there’s always an element of secrecy and excitement surrounding each new Yeezy presentation. And with past runway shows having included mysterious locations, fainting models, and a dream list of attendees, we’ll be keeping our eyes on the people just as much as the clothing this season.
FENTY X PUMA by Rihanna
We are ALWAYS here for RiRi and PUMA during fashion week. After two seasons of showing her FENTY x PUMA by Rihanna collection in Paris, the queen is headed back to NYFW where she had originally launched the line with her first show for Fall 2016. Like the star herself, her collections always promise a wild mix of streetwear meets naughty schoolgirl, proving that bad has truly never looked so good. (Stay tuned for our coverage of the runway show!)
With a focus on social and environmental responsibility, Tome embodies both of its designers’ own experiences in a line of practical and straightforward wardrobe essentials made for every woman - clear cut with a certain edge. In addition to their funky designs, we love their dedication to a hiring a diverse runway cast, having babes like curvy model Marquita Pring as well as 64 year-old Jacalyn O’Shaughnessy star in last season’s show.
Snow Xue Gao
The NYC-based designer founded her eponymous brand in 2016 immediately following her debut show at Parsons New School of Art and Design. Gao received some early good looks from Rihanna and VFiles that sparked her career, with her big break being recruited for last season’s VFiles Runway show by stylist and VFiles Runway judge/mentor Mel Ottenberg. An exploration of exaggerated proportions, asymmetrical finishes, and contrasting textures, Gao’s intricately draped and tailored line breaks away from conventional definitions of what is deemed masculine and feminine.
While her line might be new to some, Claudia Li is certainly no newbie to the fashion world - she was previously head womenswear designer for J.W. Anderson and worked alongside designer and stylist Brandon Maxwell at the House of Gaga. With these kinds of unique and unconventional influences in mind, this season we’re expecting to see a refreshed continuation of Li’s generous silhouettes and avant-garde intricacies that definitively take her pieces from “want” to “need” status.
Like some of our other fave designers to watch, Gypsy Sport designer Rio Uribe embraces a gender-fluid and pan-ethnic approach to fashion that is inspired by “diversity and adversity.” With recent brand champions including young fashion darlings Jaden Smith, Sarah Snyder, and the Jenner sisters, Uribe designs for an “urban tribe” resulting in inspiring, soulful, and personality-rich pieces that alter any traditional idea of everyday streetwear.
Despite dismissals from many in the field, Philipp Plein embraces his often gaudy and over-the-top reputation by putting on some of the most extravagant presentations at fashion week. The front row of his expensive and wildly flashy runway shows ranges from Madonna and Fat Joe to Tiffany Trump and Kylie Jenner, and with a stint on this year’s rebooted “America’s Next Top Model” having introduced the brand to a younger audience, it’s no surprise that looks from his show last season received the most social likes and comments of all brands showing at NYFW.