Blame it on watching Wolf of Wall Street right before I left for New York.  Or reading this Moby article on the Guardian.  “New York is exclusively about success,” says Moby in his article about why he moved to L.A.  “It’s success that has been fed steroids and vitamin B. There’s a sense that New Yorkers never fail, but if they do, they’re exorcised from memory.”  So now I roam the streets and shows in New York, thinking only about these finite lines of success and failure.  Trouble is, success in fashion in this city doesn’t necessarily marry up with the best talent that’s out there.  You’re struck by not just the sheer volume of shows, but the sheer amount of dross that is out there – lauded, applauded and doing commercially well it would seem.  It’s dross not because they’re badly made clothes – but largely because it’s all polish and no personality.  Whilst it’s not right to criticise designers and their position of privilege, when you find much of these soulless collections are funded by personal connections and wealth, you wonder where the meritocracy is.  Would these collections stand a chance on-schedule in Milan or Paris, hell, even London?

The good guys out there have been making a stand though.  Made Fashion Week are constantly scouting and supporting young talent and have built up a strong roster of names.  If they’re not quite ready for a full blown show at Milk Studios, then a smaller presentation at nearby Standard hotel is a good platform and that’s exactly what Eckhaus Latta did.  It takes a level of adjustment when looking at Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta’s homespun pieces, made out of deadstock fabrics.  There are imperfections – both deliberate and accidental.  But there’s much to be read in the strangely sensual ensembles made out of surplus blankets, faux suede and upholstery velvet, amped up by their hand-loomed knits.  “Looking at the person next to you, laying my coat down on the seat next to me.  We and we alone,” reads the accompanying press notes.  The collection’s tactile textures move you.  “You were almost naked seen by the light of the refrigerator.  You were wrapping towel around your waist holding your breath.”  And so on and so forth.  The awkwardness and oddness is endearing.  When they send out a boy covered in a light layer of green paint and knitted underpants or an older woman (she looked swell in pink velvet) or girls wearing specially created metal retainers in their mouth, it’s not diversity for diversity’s sake.  It’s a strange narrative that is kinda, sorta, beautiful.

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Also on the fringes is Lindsay Degen.  She once worked for London knit duo Cooperative Designs and that connection can be seen in her awesomely uplifting, childish scrawly knitwear.  Degen’s collections aren’t her main schtick but rather her collaborations have funded her work, such as her collaboration with Victoria’s Secret, where she created smiley-faced, LOL/OMG-emblazoned knitwear for the show last year.  Her presentations are therefore a calling card for further collaborations.  This season, Degen was inspired by a plastic yarn knit that in the making felt like magic.  So the process of knitting is brought to life with a Stomp-style performance of knitters at their machines, swiping back and forth, in time with the soundtrack.  Rainbows, magic eyes and that raved up aesthetic, which Degen specialises in all come together in euphoric harmony.  I’ll happily take personality over polish any day.  Those achieving both at NYFW are sadly few and far between.

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Comments (20)

  1. WOWS says:

    Not my way in this case.

    Kisses from http://www.withorwithoutshoes.com

    Today I bring you very Comfy and Cozy outfit…mixing wool and denim!!

  2. Kiri says:

    Once again I am glad you have led me to discover two labels I didn’t know about. And I really like that your summary points to Lindsay Degen’s unique collection. It’s not really my thing but it is extremely creative and I love how the rainbow on the wall is echoed in the shoes.
    Kiri
    http://www.fashionblender.com.au
    http://www.facebook.com/FashionBlender

  3. It´s fun and magic! Great colors and textures, pure fashion, love the futurist touch! I´m missing some fashion accessories though, no handbags, purses

  4. This is called fashion. I think this is amazing work done by you. You don’t know how much I learn form this. Good job.

  5. Sophie says:

    wish to be there :)
    visit my blog
    fashionable-sophie.blogspot.com

  6. Gigi says:

    as talented as the ensemble duo Eckhaus Latta is, and as beautiful and poetic the work they create may be, they hire unpaid interns to create their collections–so your points about “…Whilst it’s not right to criticise designers and their position of privilege, when you find much of these soulless collections are funded by personal connections and wealth, you wonder where the meritocracy is” ring slightly hollow. they too are exploiting their “position of privilege” to further advance their own careers. sigh. if they’re in their mid 20s hiring interns, how do you think they’ll behave when they go corporate?

    • stylebubble says:

      Well unpaid interns are par for course across the fashion spectrum… and sadly if you’re not in a position to pay, you have to go down the route. It’s not a position of privilege to be starting out with no resources to pay people and unfortunately, the system is cyclical – more and more people want experience and there are more and more young designers – the two go hand in hand. Surely it’s the companies that have the ability to pay, and still use unpaid interns, that should be brought up for criticism, no?

    • Audrey says:

      @Gigi I agree that smaller companies are exploiting their position by hiring many unpaid interns to create their collections.

      @stylebubble A larger corporate company SHOULD pay their interns but at least if you are an unpaid intern at a larger company you can use their name + resources. How much though does an intern at a smaller company benefit from working for free?

      I’ve known of many fashion companies in NY that tend to be made up of nearly entirely interns. This system is getting incredibly exploitative and no one wants to discuss it. See the recent article about interns on the NYT fashion section.

  7. Ajin says:

    I like the older lady model a lot. She really suits well with the soft pink fabric she’s wearing, and I hope more shows would consider using older models.
    And the knitwear.. looks stunning. I liked your past post on a brand making all-knitwear (don’t exactly remember) too, Susie, but this one looks equally good. The rainbow-shaped skirt looks very playful and creative.
    Very interesting post as usual. Thanks always.

  8. Karen says:

    Well done. A really insightful post. Give yourself a big pat on the back, this is something no one else is reporting on.

  9. Erlinda says:

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  10. Vakta Mondal says:

    Superb blog! Fantastic photos pretty simple. Also models are looking cool ………………

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  12. John says:

    Overall, wonderful looks. Fashion looks a bit scandinavian though ;)

    http://aroma18.com/
    http://lecharmeparis.com/
    http://blousiel.com/

  13. Allen says:

    Hello, I read your blogs on a regular basis. Your humoristic style is awesome, keep up the good work!

  14. Allen says:

    Hello, I read your blogs on a regular basis. Your humoristic style is awesome, keep up the good work!

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