Trendspotting New York Fashion Week Spring Summer 2020 and the Political Statements We Just Can’t Ignore
The conversations continue to go beyond fashion and more towards actual change
A few months ago, we wrote about advocating for social justice, and how it’s become cool to care and cool to be aware. But social justice in fashion? It was almost unheard of until the political climate in western societies changed and fashion authorities, from editors to designers, broke their silence on issues that directly impact not just the industry, but life itself. After all, there is a shared fear towards the future, so it is critical for those who can and who genuinely care to express opinions on the status quo, and try and make change happen.
Welcome to New York Fashion Week Spring Summer 2020:
“To create and consume, but to be conscious and ethical.”
We’ve all come to believe that the fashion industry is the world’s “second biggest” contributor of pollution, which Vanessa Friedman of The New York Times questioned last year. But whether or not we’ve been misinformed (read all about it here), the fact is, the industry is still part of the problem, just as much as many households are. Designers have begun to acknowledge it and if this season’s fashion week is any indication, change—albeit slowly—is starting to happen. One of two standout examples include, 2019 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist and designer Hillary Taymour of Collina Strada, who presented a collection made from repurposed materials with the exception of jersey fabric. Taymour’s showcase was an attempt to reconcile the desire to create and consume with the responsibility we all have to be conscious and ethical. Meanwhile, designer Gabriela Hearst’s take on sustainability was through an awfully quiet backstage. In an effort to mount the first carbon-neutral show in New York, Hearst banned hairdryers and hot tools, resulting in IDGAF slick braids.
Diversity comes full circle.
More and more designers celebrate diversity, inclusivity and the importance of representation this season. And we mean in it every sense of the word: models of all shapes, sizes and racial backgrounds walked for Tommy Hilfiger’s TommyXZendaya, trans model Ariel Nicholson was the star of Japanese designer Tomo Koizumi’s spectacular confections, women of all ages were well-represented, too, with 55-year-old actress Debi Mazar and 65-year-old “accidental icon” Lyn Slater who made headlines at Kate Spade. At Chromat, body positivity was deliberate as Tess Holiday walked down the runway in a white body-loving dress with the words “sample size” emblazoned on all sides. But perhaps the biggest moment in NYFW history happened at luxury childrenswear label Lulu et Gigi, where 9-year-old double amputee Daisy-May Demetre made her runway debut in a red and gold dress that showed off her prosthetic legs.
The personal is political.
Almost instantly, making America great again became synonymous to building walls, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raids and families being forcibly broken apart. So when Prabal Gurung celebrated his 10th year anniversary in fashion with nods to Americana (red roses and blue denim) and the overarching theme, “Who gets to be American,” it easily became one of the most powerful and political moments of the season. In an interview, Gurung explained, “In the last few years, incited by the divisive rhetoric of our current administration, I’ve considered the many faces of America and how we should seek to redefine it.”
Trendspotting: empowering lingerie, pared down sexy, 70s nostalgia
Of course what is fashion week without the fashion. Our favorite moments will include Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty show, in which we’ve only really seen pics of Rihanna in a sheer bodysuit over her body-positive, sex-positive line of lingerie, and read all about Laverne Cox making an appearance and doing high kicks. The show premieres September 20, exclusively on Amazon Prime.
Meanwhile at Tom Ford, a designer famous for his opulent and sensual aesthetic, and provocative campaigns (remember Gucci’s logo shaved on a woman’s pubic hair?), pivoted to downtown cool and wearable sexy. Separates, as well as slinky dresses, were rendered in an array of soft-and-smooth-to-the-touch fabrics, like jersey, satin, leather and plastic (or was it latex). But of course, the pieces themselves and the pairings were still classic Tom Ford at the core, from the coat over a leather bra to sheer hosiery underneath tiny shorts.
via Essence, Yahoo and IMG Models
Personally, I’ve never been a fan of Tommy Hilfiger, but his TommyXZendaya showcase was a heady dose of fun, Euphoria and 70s nostalgia. The ultra-glam headwear (those wide-brimmed hats and newsboy caps), bold pattern play—from hound’s tooth and windowpane checks, to spots and python—power suits tailored to perfection and all that loud silver, culminating in a Harlem block party, there were plenty of reasons to fawn over Hilfiger this season.
Art Alexandra Lara