New York Fashion Week’s global showcase is the launchpad for a biannual seasonal exhibition that sets the tone for the future of fashion. The lively atmosphere of the shows, events, and parties, both in-person and on social media, is contagious. However, the fashion industry still has a long way to go in terms of reducing its carbon footprint. Sustainability in fashion is essential, and it deserves to be recognized and celebrated in a positive manner.
Scroll along to see the highlights of sustainability at NYFW.
Hillary Taymour’s fashion brand, Collina Strada, serves as a guiding light for the next generation of New York fashion by prioritizing sustainability, inclusivity, accessibility, and animal welfare. Her fall collection, titled “Please Don’t Eat My Friends,” provides a refreshing alternative to the recent Schiaparelli couture show’s emphasis on trophy head displays.
In this collection, Taymour’s models, including Tommy Dorfman in her catwalk debut, don prosthetic snouts, whiskers, and beaks by British makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench, transforming into animals. The models move like their animal counterparts, some on all fours, wearing subtle satin shoulder horns, organza bunny tails, and pieces featuring “fur,” reptile scales, and dolphin prints.
Taymour incorporated sustainable and deadstock materials into her designs, resulting in the creation of colorful satin pop star dresses, shirred tops, floral organza layers, and velvet cargo pants that resonate with Gen Z’s fashion aspirations.
The collection also featured soft satin suiting with floral cutout details and tear-drop collar shirts, plaid crushed velvet pieces, deadstock plaid pants and coats, and patchworked flannels that exude a sense of sophistication. In addition, the collection showcased upcycled jersey tops and dresses, which are draped and pleated almost like couture, demonstrating a new level of craftsmanship.
Moreover, Taymour introduced two collaborations in this collection. The first is with Italian manufacturer Vitelli, which focuses on creating recycled yarn knits, flap hats, and animal tails. The second collaboration is with Vans, featuring slip-on sneakers.
Velez’s collection showcased in a Greenpoint warehouse defied the typical fashion scene and instead presented a raw and personal expression of fashion. Her focus on models with bodies that more accurately represent the average person, rather than adhering to the slim runway standard, challenged fashion’s coast elitism. The collection was hyper-stylized, with some models appearing to have undergone plastic surgery or other cosmetic treatments, and walked in a daze or a strung-out trance.
Drawing inspiration from the industrial decay of her native midwestern landscapes, Velez’s collections reflect the tropes and caricatures of bygone Americana, while also acknowledging the sadness of what has happened since that time. Collaborating with a metalsmith in Wisconsin, she created bustiers that were raw and machine-like, dresses that appeared to be slathered in clear glue, and an enormous cardigan with bulbous sleeves inspired by the “kitschy and familiar” quilts of her midwest upbringing. Velez combines unorthodox styles with plain materials such as canvas, resulting in dresses with wide, Singer Sargent-esque portrait necks made out of ribbed cotton.
Her collection pays homage to “wasteland heroines” and women who are building a legacy in a place of impermanence, such as prairie wives, lot lizards, and trucker culture. Despite being deemed unglamorous by cosmopolitan standards, Velez refracts these influences into a new and fresh perspective, similar to the new heroin chic from the Midwest.