This New York Fashion Week will look a little different from years past, thanks to a scheduling instance that led to the Oscars being booked during the peak of shows this season. As a result, a swath of designers including newly instated Council of Fashion Designers of America chairman Tom Ford, have opted to decamp for the West Coast, where their shows (and front rows) will be more accessible to A-listers, while others like designer Jeremy Scott and Tommy Hilfiger, will be showing their collections abroad in Paris and London, respectively.
The upside of a less-crowded NYFW schedule, however, is the ability to hone in on some of New York’s freshest new talent — as well as the return of some old favorites from the industry. Ahead of New York Fashion Week, here’s a look at 10 innovative designers that you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on this season.
Christopher John Rogers
This season, count on all eyes being on Christopher John Rogers, the immensely talented womenswear designer who took home the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award in November 2019. The Baton Rouge-born, Brooklyn-based designer’s unapologetically glamorous designs — think voluminous jewel-toned crop top and ball gown skirt sets and curve-hugging, sherbert-colored sheath dresses — are favored by the likes of Rihanna, Lizzo, and Gabrielle Union.
Fe Noel will be making its NYFW runway debut this season with its first official show on the calendar. The line, designed by Felisha “Fe” Noel, is a study in easy elegance. Fe Noel’s louche dresses, flowing trousers, and signature billowing sleeves prove that sensible can also be sensual. With fans like Beyoncé and Michelle Obama, it’s a label you can expect to see lots more from in the future.
There are few designers that can bring the energy and exuberance to fashion week like Brandon Maxwell, whose dynamic and sleek collections, feel like power dressing for the woman of today. Maxwell’s stunning designs aside, the designer’s shows are always a hot ticket for the industry, thanks to small touches like bringing out his design team to do the final bow or sating guests’ hunger with wings or Shake Shack. The designer, a longtime favorite of Lady Gaga and a current judge on Project Runway, will be showing this season’s collection at the Museum of Natural History, in what will no doubt be a night at the Museum to remember.
In recent years, there’s been no brand that sparkles brighter (literally) than Area. The line’s playful signature accent is sparkling crystals, which you can find as fringe lining their mini dresses, shoes, and suits or as over-the-top accessories. This year, their show will be held the Africa Center on Fifth Avenue.
PH5 has made a name for itself with its sporty yet feminine knitwear that might be the best example of how fashion and tech are increasingly converging in the industry. PH5 uses 3D knitting to create their playful, colorful designs — a method that’s not only cutting edge, but completely zero-waste, something that sustainable consumers can get behind.
Founded by Kate and Laura Mulleavy, Rodarte will make their much-anticipated return to New York Fashion Week with their FW 2020 collection for the first time since September 2018. The Mulleavy sisters have opted for celeb-studded lookbooks and social campaigns and events on the West Coast in the past two years since they decamped from New York Fashion Week.
Susan Alexandra will be showing this season’s offerings in a musical-themed presentation that will no doubt be as fun as her candy-colored and bedazzled handbags.
rag & bone
rag & bone also makes its return to New York Fashion Week with its first F/W runway show since 2016; this season’s show will focus on the intersection between the digital and real world and will employ AI-powered visuals.
Eckhaus Latta’s conceptual, art-driven shows are as much performance art as they are fashion presentation and this year’s show will likely delight both art and sartorial enthusiasts.
Marc Jacobs is known for closing out NYFW every season with his fantastical shows and this year is no exception. There’s no better way to say goodbyeto fashion week with a bon mot than with Marc’s whimsical and witty looks.