Patrick Michael Hughes Senior Fashion Editor- Men's Fashion Writer
Photographed by Gregory Wikstrom
"All My Skinfolk Ain't My Kinfolk"
Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)
Novelist, Anthropologist, Filmmaker
NEW YORK: When you are an African-American fashion designer and New York Fashion Week falls in the middle of Black History Month why not take your collection's moment to make a statement not only about your artistic vision and tap into the dialogue of a prolific, once over looked Black, Queer, feminist writer? Zora Neale Hurston's work has been widely espoused by contemporary writers and educators including Alice Walker and Henry Louis Gates Jr. SKINFOLK was the 'stop and think' title of A.POTTS Fall 2022 collection presented at NYMD.
The gender-less and non binary label hails from Brooklyn, NY and has been gaining fashion inroads, strength and recognition.
Potts' interpretation of 'SKINFOLK' was inspired by a wide range of skin tones. The vast range included hues of pale blush to the darkest black. The concept was further carried forward in a wide range of textiles including performance fabrics to sheer mesh, boiled wool and coated wet look fabrication. There truly was a wide range in this large collection of almost forty looks. The model's bodies, hair and beautiful black opera length gloves also enhanced the theme.
Further, 'skin' was carried all the way through, in volumetric garments made in knitted wool bouclé described as 'flecked tweed'. It's also noteworthy that not all skin was human there was a lovely section filled with rich rose colored leopard prints in a coat, tunics and fully cut trousers.
The use of volume as component for a collection's elevation was clear. The street fashion sense of A. POTTS' past seasons has shifted gears for fall 2022. It felt as if the label almost exited the street and walking into the room with an elegant identity. The kinfolk in the humanfolk were encouraged one to ask, who is that fashionable person? The fashion forward nature of A.POTTS had an approachable and polished feel, with that said there were still A.POTTS fashion savvy heraldry such as deeply dropped crotch pants, ruffles, tunic styles and indulgent floor grazing hemlines.
Fashion eyes would have recognized the color blocked silhouettes which recalled the Seventh Avenue fashion legacies of African-American designers Stephen Burrows and the late Scott Barrie. A.POTTS also included 'couture like' whimsical accessories and items in the collection which were a bit distracting from the authentic American narrative and sensibility the collection was connected to. The Fall 22's elevation linked to the labels success in sales re-enforces that A. POTTS has truly grown and even outgrown the presentation format and informal walk through this brand is ready for a true runway.