Patrick Michael Hughes Men's Fashion Editor
New York Fashion Week Men’s kicked off a new season in the city’s newest neighborhood, Hudson Yards. The fashion calendar for NYFW Men’s changed from a July to the first week in June preceding London, Florence, Milan and Paris.
New York Men’s Day moved their series of presentations from the financial district to Daylight Studios photography lofts across the street from the latest major tourist attractions and luxury shopping venues. The street is a mass of rugged sidewalks detours and loud construction noises on steely skyscrapers. The seasonal event is an anchor for the men’s fashion industry, highlighting new designers, established New York labels and international talent testing the waters of New York.
New York’s June 2019 is buzzing with unpredictable weather, polo season visitors, teams of tourist, models in the street in hope of getting sent to Europe and a heavily marketed World Pride celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall Riot. The first day has been a wonderful reflection of all of the above.
An established brand on the red carpet and young celebrities in the know is David Hart. This season his collection was in partnership with the International Center of Photography and the Weegee Estate. Weegee (pseudonym for Arthur Fellig 1899-1968) was an iconic New York street photographers work. The suiting this season exhibited a type of exhale and ease not seen in past collections. The late nineteen thirties pre-war silhouette seems to have been an influence. The photo prints featuring Weegees’s work are timeless, stark, black and white images that worked well with the tailored pieces and even gave Hart’s collection a new kind of street savvy and authenticity. The hands on styling by Hart this season shows the collection has a stronger authentic presentation free of complex staging. It really was about the clothes.
A new label making its debut at NYMD this season is by Michael Nelson a fashion designer who splits his time between, New York, West Africa and Asia. He made is industry debut after graduation fro Parsons School of Design as a very successful accessory designer retailing high end leather-ware with African beaded details to stores such as Browns in London.
Nelson has now entered the realm of men's fashion with a highly polished, a well edited collection of eight looks true to his interest in supporting and bringing to light global manufactures and artisans. Spring 2020 showcases hand woven Ikat textiles, Burmese traditional weaving and shoes designed in Tunisia as well details and fabrication from Africa, AMIROK celebrates a and brings to New York fashion a global moment. The color palate was simple with traditional men's aesthetics of indigo and gray paired with earth tones in rich natural red, olive green and gold. Surprise elements in the collection were the clever use of Gahnese Kente cloth strips as well as hand dyed indigo cloth strips from Mali on t-shits, cleverly and un-offcially called 'strip tees'. This was a wonderful collection and it will be very interesting to see how it moves forward in fall 2020.
KA WA KEY
Reworking textile and crafts from everyday streetwear has been the hallmark of the KA WA KEY label. The brand has shown collections in London, Shanghai, Tokyo and New York. Lasty season was their first showing at NYMD. The performance of male models moving through the space, trading clothes undressing each other and forming a series of group poses has captured photographers and visually rich social media feeds for yet another season. There is a wonderful echoing of the pile of bodes in colorful distressed looks against piles of clothing on the floor and on chairs. The fashion news for this collection is bright colors in a painters palate. Washed out stripes, fearless mixing, tie dye details and far more gender fluid forms. There is also far more exposure in distressed pieces as well. What was also noted could it be, that there was one hoodie in a brand that identifies as streetwear? Is there be an evolution in the mix? This was a brightly optimistic collection growing in scope, silhouette and sophistication.
Gender, performance and representation are the primary concerns Cyprus- born New York designer Vasilis Loizides. The outlook of the label is playful, creative and exceeding well made. These are beyond seasonal market narratives and a truly looking to the world for high fashion and high concept. Historicism, allegory and personal experience are infused in these designs. The silhouettes are strong and require a careful eye to to disseminate. The collection fills a void this season for the designers who create in this vain and have shown during men's fashion week in the past. What is wonderful about this collection is the geometry of the carefully crafted storytelling aspect in the prints and the re invention of using somewhat traditional men's fabrication in a new way. Pinstripes, cotton shirting next and paired with silk organza, lace, hounds tooth check and Argyle. VASILIS has been described as stranger than fiction however inclusive reality within fashion spaces often is. This is a worthwhile brand to watch and have on your New York fashion radar.