New York Fashion Week is that anticipated time when editors, bloggers, buyers, and the like travel to major fashion shows like a modern pilgrimage, transforming New York’s refuse laden streets into a makeshift runway of its own. The air is fervent as fashion moguls await the latest and greatest from the rock stars of the industry. But just like it always does, NYFW has come and gone to London, Milan, and now Paris. The clock struck midnight and now the once kitten heel-cluttered streets maintain their grit and the ardent air has now settled and been replaced with humid, polluted smog. And as much as we enjoyed the American retro references found in Raf Simons’ SS18 collection for Calvin Klein and the 1920’s embellishments inspired by explorations in the Far East for Marchesa, we found ourselves refreshed by the smaller and more humble revelations in the game. They’re the beloved indie stars of the industry, and they’re doing something great, too, you just may not have noticed.
These mini powerhouses we speak of are some extraordinary talents that congregate at the MAN/WOMAN shows that occur annually in both New York and Paris. It’s a tradeshow that hosts unique and purposeful brands, like Apolis and Creatures of Comfort, giving them the opportunity to tell their idiosyncratic stories, and, lucky for you, we’re here to share them (well, the Sparknotes version). They’re beautifully and thoughtfully crafted lines of clothing, jewelry, eyewear, handbags, shoes, and even candles, too (because your home should be just as stylish as you are). The MAN/WOMAN show is segmented into MAN and WOMAN, which exhibit a number of designers displaying their latest collections during different times of the year between the two fashion meccas. We got a chance to visit New York’s bright and sunny Spring Studios to scan what the SS18 WOMAN show, which arose from the mellowing frenzy of New York Fashion Week, had in store for us. Here are some of our favorite (mostly) female-lead brands that shone.
If you’re a sucker for texture, whether it be in food, art, or your bed sheets, Wol Hide may seem like it was made for your senses. Leah D’Ambrosio started the line as a textile designer, which explains everything. Fabric and knit are at the heart of each effortlessly beautiful piece that is either made in a small family-run factory in Peru or U.SA.’s Allentown, PA. They’re soft, they’re cozy, they’re simple, and a little sexy, too (think the bedhead of clothing). Her love for sculpting textures and forms through knitting is expressed through the ribs and weaves found in pieces like those from her SS18 collection (shown above), which was inspired by sun-bleached beach and desert scenes. Dreamy.
Long days call for tall glasses of wine or maybe a retail therapy splurge, but thanks to Kat Hammill and Danielle Armstrong, we now have a new outlet to ease our wearied New York state of mind. Night Space is a collection of eight idiosyncratic scents and colors that signify self-expression and a dreamlike state of endless possibilities (yes, we can), and have been curated with a distinctive approach and audience in mind. The beautiful range of colors are designed to coordinate with their assigned scent — the richer and deeper the hue, the more fragrant your 100% pure soy wax candle will be. You’ll find anything from warm and earthy tones to cool sea colors that accent the minimal ceramic vessels handcrafted in Portugal, which are pretty enough to repurpose once your candle burns out.
Blluemade may not be lead solely by women, but this husband and wife duo are definitely on our team. Alex Robins and Lilly Lampe sought out to create the linen clothing line of our modern New York dreams. Not only are the pieces versatile, comfortable, and refined, but their beautiful linen is sourced from a five generation family-owned carbon-neutral heritage mill in Belgium (where some of the best linen hails from) that oversees every step of the linen production process, from flax farming (yeah, those things you find in your acai bowl) to the finished bolts. What’s even better? The garments are then brought to a factory owned and run by women in New York City’s Historic Garment District, so that each piece has just that much more integrity. Inspired by vintage farming and workwear clothing, historic textiles and travel, Blluemade’s minimal collared shirts and fun-colored overalls can outfit women and men, making it easier to borrow what’s in your beau’s closet.
Summer is officially over, but that doesn’t mean our sunglass game has to be. Handmade in Austria with nearly surgical precision and some of the highest quality materials (i.e. sustainably produced acetate from Italy), Andy Wolf is a brand to keep your eye on. With a team of 50 seeing conception to fruition, the art of craftsmanship has never been so evident in a pair of specs or shades. Their acute attention to detail and dedication to premier quality led them to buy their own manufacturing factory last year in Jura, a region in France specializing in metal eyewear, to keep giving you what you deserve: the best. So whether you’re reaching for that young, modern intellect look or need some statement sunnies to complement your vast fall jacket collection, all eyes will be up where they belong. It’s no wonder mega babes like Rihanna (who showed up to the Cannes red carpet in a custom pair), Gigi Hadid, and Emily Ratajkowski are fans. And you can count us in.
There’s a lot of waste in the world, and some of us actually give a damn. Hackwith Design House strives to eliminate waste in the fashion industry (a major contributor to the global issue) and does so all while celebrating and empowering the diverse female form (you can find their easy, femme pieces in plus sizes, too). Produced in their studio in Minnesota, some pieces aren’t even made by their select team of seamstresses until after they’ve been ordered. This determination to reduce waste explains why there’s no more than 25 of each design and why they have such wearable and versatile pieces that can be incorporated into any wardrobe at any time. And for New York City women who are always on the go, sometimes it’s nice for them to wear their clothes with ease, and not the other way around.
Despite the recent heat, fall is upon us and so is its beloved companion, sweater weather. But as you sift through your essential black cardigans or classic chunky white Fishermans, consider Mila Zovko for a colorful update. Sandra Zovko’s luxurious knitwear is inspired by her late mother, Mila (hence the name), and the whimsical sweaters she knit throughout her life. Designed in Vancouver and made in New York City using Italian yarn, Sandra lends a cool, modern edge to her mother’s playful aesthetic, which involves a vibrant mix of colors, textures and patterns. You’ll find beautiful knit dresses fit for the office, cropped colorful vests to liven up your high-waisted denim, and a sparkly copper sweater for festive fall nights. Your wardrobe could use the pick-me-up.
This may be a name you recognize seeing that we are tried-and-true fans of Whit. Whit is a beloved art-centric clothing line that encapsulates the creative minds of the designer, Whitney Pozgay (check out her Boss Babe feature here), her artist friends with whom she collaborates with, and the empowered, yet light-hearted wearer. Her clothes are playful, yet sophisticated, bold, but minimal, too. They’re a visual experience that emulate personal history. Take Pozgay’s SS18 collection (shown above). Her southwest roots are evident in the light and airy silhouettes that exude spring desert vibes, while some of the prints were conceived by her painter husband, as well as Brooklyn-based artist Helen Dealtry, making each garment their own work of art. They’re a testament to the undeniable, yet often overlooked romance between art and fashion. And if you’re suckers for that sort of thing like us, then this is the clothing line for you.
Sometimes it can feel like jewelry is on one end of the spectrum or the other: simple, fine pieces that carry you through the everyday to elaborate, costume-esque gems and hardware that might even dominate your ensemble. To be able to find that mystical balance of artful everyday jewelry that is also destined to be standout stars for a special occasion is our equivalent to striking gold. FARIS is our newest go-to for sculptural and audacious pieces that experiment with integrating fluidity and movement in organic shapes. The pieces are strong and bold, artful and feminine. They are inspired by and conceptualized for the assertive female energy we harbor in all of us, and to wear FARIS is to express it. Seattle-based, Faris Du Graf credits her creative background to her childhood – her house was filled with Eames, Aalto, and Breur samples due to her parents both working for Knoll in the ’70s and ’80s (they now run their own furniture showroom in Seattle), which lend a modernist edge to her pieces. That, paired with her creative entrepreneurship skills she gained while working with Rob Forbes at Design Within Reach, equipped her with a rich architectural and design history that can be found in the way she distills complexity into a functional and wearable statement. Using primarily precious and semi-precious metals, Du Graf is living out her desire to create something beautiful using the least bit of material that is as eternal as your female strength.
We live in a time when, as women, we need to speak volumes, and, well, it wouldn’t hurt if our clothes did too. Luisa et la Luna is a New York-based label dreamt up for the progressive and modern woman. Alicia Rodriguez, the Argentinian-born, Brooklyn-based designer achieves that with her feminine, yet gamine silhouettes, always trying to redefine what femininity is rather than segment us under some social construct. Having a few years as head of design for Rebecca Minkoff gives this limit-pushing designer some street cred as well as some intrigue seeing that Rodriguez’s designs stray far from that aesthetic. There’s a strong emphasis on fabrication and playful proportion. She uses progressive fabrics for textural elements, like that of Japanese textiles and shapes, and a whimsical sense of volume and proportion, while maintaining a feminine silhouette. To incorporate those three elements and execute them into something wearable encapsulates the challenge that Rodriguez sets for herself to redefine what is feminine and push that concept into something modern, fun, strong, and of course, feminine, too, but not so much as to graze “girly” or “pretty” territory. The final product is reminiscent of The Row or Celine, or even from Rodriguez’s teen years spent in the 90’s (think Maison Margiela and Jil Sander), giving you that ultra-luxe aesthetic for a more reasonable price.
You may not be much of a jewelry wearer, or you may just want something as simple as the clean lines of your clothes. Well, Another Feather is the solution to your reservations on wearing something a little extra. Hannah Ferrara has created a line of beautiful, simple jewelry that doesn’t overpower your look, but enhances it. It’s like the pleasure you find in the subtle, exquisite details of a Helmut Lang garment, but it’s something you won’t grow out of come the holiday season (get your Spanx ready). Unsatisfied by what the market had to offer, Ferrara applied a little DIY using her fine art background incorporating influences of travel, modern design, ancient relics, and an appreciation for well-made objects and relics to create handcrafted metal-made jewelry and simple everyday adornments that bare subtle imperfections that reflect the Japanese concept of aesthetic called wabi-sabi — a worldview centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection and that beauty is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete (amen). It gets better: each item is made using recycled metals from sustainable sources and low impact studio practices, making each piece a responsible reminder to reduce, reuse, recycle.
Written by Izzy Setaro
feature image via FARIS