It’s Fashion Week. Do You Care?

Posted by Ali Brownrigg on

About a million years ago I was a professional fashion writer in Seattle’s very small fashion pond. Those were the days of Daily Candy and Lucky magazine, no social media and a just-burgeoning blogosphere. 

Remember how cute those Daily Candy illustrations by Sujean Rim were? 

I really loved those days and look back fondly on the fashion shows and exclusive shopping events and all the fancy stuff that comes with being in the fashion media. I got about as far as one could go in this city but never got to New York Fashion Week. (I did, however, go to Bridal Fashion Week, which is definitely the consolation prize of fashion weeks.)

But, as I said, that was about a million years ago and my star has definitely faded in the local firmament. And that is more than ok. I definitely don’t miss the low pay and the pressure of deadlines. I’m better suited to a private life, being the buyer for my own little shop and spending time with my kids and my gorgeous boyfriend. However, I was kinda thrilled by an invitation that arrived in my inbox today: CFDA invited me to join what they’re calling Runway360 as a member of the press. I must be in some old PR database somewhere and they must be desperate. 

Runway360 allows access to the calendar of the Covid-friendly prerecorded NYFW shows for the Spring/Summer 2021 season. The whole world is different now and the fashion world is no exception.

I don’t really care about trends or "Fashion." I’m definitely more focused on personal style. Rules are dumb, wearing what you want is cool. But I love a well-made piece of clothing designed by someone for whom fashion is their art and their metier. And I’m not afraid to admit that I’m a total label whore. But I only shop second-hand for designer clothing personally, and I like to sell second-hand designer clothing because I believe in the democratization of well-made slow fashion. Everyone should be able to enjoy finely made clothing, not just rich people. IMHO anyway.

My first thought as I skimmed the roster of shows and designers was: When were these collections designed? Was it during the quarantine? If so, would they give me any clue into what the hive mind is feeling like wearing during these uncertain times? Because zeitgeist is real, people. Many of us tend to come to the same conclusion at the same time. Remember in Unzipped when both Isaac Mizrahi and Jean Paul Gaultier used Nanook of the North as their inspiration for their Fall 1994 collections? Exactly.

Unzipped movie

If you haven't seen this movie you should see it immediately.

What I know is that we all want to be comfortable. Months of being homebound and the WFH lifestyle has spoiled us for apartment pants with a buffet waist and Zoom-appropriate tops. But for those of us with a strong sartorial point of view, that comfort dressing also needs to be stylish - whatever our individual idea of that is. So keeping inspired by the current fashion landscape is good. Also, fashion is fun and a diversion and an art form and people get pleasure out of it. And we could all use a little of that these days.

So, here are my favorite looks from some of my favorite designers who had “shows” today. I might go back and watch the shows of new-to-me designers later, but for now I’m sticking with the familiar. It’s so comforting.

Ulla Johnson gray denim jumpsuit

Ulla Johnson

Queen of blending boho with New York street smarts, Ulla Johnson went for the flounce, ruffles and tiers in this collection with nods to vintage forms and fabric. I love her use of gray acid-washed denim - that jumpsuit - OMG.

Ulla Johnson photos: Jonas Gustavsson


Zero + Maria Cornejo

Maria Cornejo always designs chic comfortable clothing. It’s her jam. This collection takes it all one step further with gorgeous quilted coats made from upcycled fabric, boxy hoodies, baggy pants and blousy tops. 

Zero + Maria Cornejo photos: Matthew Kristall 


Imitation of Christ

IOC was a cult favorite in the early aughts. Chloe Sevigny was a huge fan, which means you should be, too. Designer Tara Subkoff elevated upcycling used clothing to an artform, often pushing the boundary between fashion and art. The brand vanished from the radar for many years and made its return on July 4 with a Fall 2020 show called Americans Not Allowed in Paris. Never one to shy away from exposing and dissecting social issues, Subkoff peppered the show with slogans such as “Fuck ICE” and gender-neutral designs. Proceeds from the show went toward Covid relief workers, Black Lives Matter and environmental protection groups.

For the IOC Spring/Summer 2021 collection, and the line's triumphant return to NYFW, Subkoff was inspired by civil rights and social justice. She asked an LA-based group of teenage skateboarders - all female - to make a film wearing the collection filled with a cacophany of vintage and eccentricity, once again challenging us, pushing us and stirring shit up.

I want all my jeans to have doodles and writing all over them.

Tuesday's shows are all new-to-me designers, with the exception of Anna Sui - whom I love. Will I have the energy to write another blog post? We shall see...


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