All fashion lovers look forward to New York Fashion Week (NYFW) every year. It’s a place where both well-known and up-and-coming fashion brands can present and promote their new collections to the world, bringing designers, models, entrepreneurs and consumers together to embrace the evolving culture of fashion, setting new trends and introducing new styles.
This year, NYFW looked a little different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It would have been unsafe to host in-person runways and showcases while coronavirus cases are still rampant, so all the brands and partners involved with NYFW decided to take a different approach this season so that people could still enjoy the excitement that is fashion week, but in a safe way.
Each fashion brand created a short video to showcase the pieces of their upcoming collections that were aired on the NYFW website at certain times between Feb. 13 and Feb. 18. Each brand took a different artistic approach to their video that best visually described their style, their message, their inspiration and the meaning behind their collection.
Over 80 fashion brands ended up producing some stunning digital presentations during NYFW, and although each and every one of them did a fantastic job at adapting to this new format, I will be highlighting some of my favorite collections that I saw this season. I found that these brands’ collections were especially unique and were definitely the most eye-catching in my opinion, and I’m really looking forward to what other creations they come up with in the future.
1) Lavie by CK
Claude Kameni, raised in Cameroon, is the fashion designer who founded Lavie by CK. This year, Kameni took her brand to NYFW to showcase her brand new fall/winter collection titled the “Royal Empire Collection.” The pieces in this collection were so beautiful, and her video presented them so well; each model looked so heavenly in the way that they were styled that I just couldn’t take my eyes off of them. Kameni used bright colors and patterns for this collection that were inspired by the movie “Coming to America,” according to the NYFW website. The silhouettes of the dresses accentuated the natural shape of the models’ bodies, and the menswear looked very fun yet classy. Lavie by CK really shined this year during NYFW, and I cannot wait to see what Kameni is able to produce in the future.
2) Bronx and Banco
Bronx and Banco is a widely-known fashion label, popular for their glamorous and inventive styles, and this year they provided nothing less than what was expected of them. The Australian brand presented their February 2021 collection this year during NYFW, each piece perfect for a night on the town or even just any big event you might have planned. The collection literally embodied the glamour that Bronx and Banco represents, incorporating a lot of metallics and shine that are sure to turn heads. Overall, the brand really turned it out this year, and I can definitely see this collection being a huge hit with fashion connoisseurs everywhere.
3) Maison Atia
Maison Atia, based in New York City, is known for being the first luxury faux fur fashion label, according to their website. This season, their new collection was heavily inspired by the “iconic and mod 1960-70s woman in London,” says the NYFW website. The designs were heavily influenced by English fashion icons such as Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton, and Maison Atia was able to deliver some gorgeous vintage looks that still looked modern, while at the same time maintaining the sustainability that the brand tries to promote. The designs were fun and colorful, very 60s, and - of course - featured a lot of faux fur. I really enjoyed this collection because I have always loved how fashion trends and styles have evolved over time, and Maison Atia did a great job at reviving those former trends in a unique and modern way. This collection was easily one of my favorites this season, and I’m very glad that NYFW introduced me to this brand.
4) Christian Cowan
Christian Cowan’s brand is all about celebrating the youthfulness of the modern-day woman, and that’s exactly what his latest collection strives to do. His designs take classic silhouettes and incorporate unique materials and details - such as feathers, vinyl and sequin - and turns what used to be an ordinary garment into something truly one-of-a-kind. The pieces featured during NYFW this past week are playful, bright and versatile, and I can see each of them being worn for very different occasions. I especially love what looks to be a black and white ostrich feather coat; it’s super on-trend and very stylish as well. The entire digital presentation made me smile, and I can definitely see Christian Cowan being a future pioneer in the fashion industry.
5) Chelsea Grays
Chelsea Grays’ newest collection, “Homage to 2020,” was intended to be a political statement in the form of fashion. Grays made references to police brutality, COVID-19, the election; all prominent issues that took place during the notorious year of 2020. In order to portray this kind of representation into their pieces, Grays uses a variety of techniques of fabric manipulation, including screen printing and other “craft elements” to create this sort of utilitarian look, bringing cohesion and uniformity to the entire collection. I love the rugged and militant look of the styles showcased this season. It’s a very powerful statement, and I’m glad that at least one fashion brand chose to draw attention to the important social issues we are still facing today.
I truly believe that NYFW 2021 was a success despite the challenges we faced this year. If anything, it proved that fashion is adaptive and is able to live on through thick and thin which is part of why I love everything about it. I hope that in the near future we are able to go back to the more traditional format of fashion week with in-person runways, but the digital presentation structure this season allowed the brands to take very different creative approaches that overall made the experience much more enjoyable and intriguing. Huge congratulations to each of the fashion brands featured this season, and thank you for providing joy through fashion during such troubling times.
All photos courtesy of NYFW.com.