New York energy was back in full force this season, from an empty parking lot by the Brooklyn River to the tippy-top of the Empire State Building, with the skyline as a fitting backdrop for so many.
While there were many of the established designers returning to the runway this season for the first IRL shows in 18 months — from Tory Burch to Coach, Michael Kors to Christian Siriano — the shows stood out for the many up-and-comers , who either took the next big step in the development of their collections or were brand new to the scene.
Here, WWD highlights six talents who made an impression during the spring season of 2022 with their thoughtful presentations, focused visions and exciting clothing.
When and where founded: New York City in 2015.
The look: Chavarria is no stranger to the New York Fashion Week scene. In fact, he is one of the few menswear designers who has maintained an active presence. The branded DNA is rooted in social justice, love and human equality, filtered through an authentic approach to streetwear that incorporates chicano-influenced silhouettes and styling that he attributes to his own ethnicity and cultural upbringing and desire to celebrate the Latin influence on fashion.
His love of creating engaging shows with inclusive casting is another constant, including his spring collection 2018 at Eagle Bar in New York City, which juxtaposed religious, low-rider and leatherbar influences.
Spring 2022 collection highlight: American classics enhanced with couture-like designs and multiple silhouettes that are sure to have an impact, including the opening look, supersized high-waisted, pleated khaki pants with a touch of a baby blue boxer shorts looking out. Shirts with bell-shaped sleeves and trousers with a long rise, structure at the knee and onion-shaped curves in the back also highlighted the designer’s sculptural approach.
NYFW effect: The newly appointed senior vice president of design at Calvin Klein has a rich resume that ranges from visits to major brands American Eagle Outfitters and Ralph Lauren to niche players like Voler and Dickies Construct. He also worked on the Yeezy brand for more than two years and was the creative director and owner of Palmer Trading Co., a vintage store and clothing brand, for more than a decade. All of that should help set him up for commercial success if that’s what he wants. The designer declined to comment on sales deals or new accounts, saying, “We measure our success by how far-reaching our message of inclusion and empowerment is — in this way, this has been our most successful season to date.” – Luis Campuzano
PUPPIES AND DUPS
When and where founded: Founded by New York City-based interdisciplinary artist Carly Mark in 2019.
The look: With references to 19th-century grandeur, New York City’s casual downtown elan and childhood whimsy, Mark spins each season an original look driven by an ambition to create fashion that similarly recognizes past, present, and future. With seasonal track casts that read like a high school cafeteria in the city’s creative elite, plus Mark’s own history as an artist and player in that scene, the brand has quickly caught on among the underground’s underground taste makers.
Spring 2022 collection highlight: After a break on the runway during the pandemic, puppets and puppets returned to their exploration of forms and construction-mix of debutante-type, voluminous evening wear from centuries earlier with modern American staples like knitwear and denim.
NYFW effect: In the last six months, Puppets and Puppets (short PNP) launched its own e-commerce site directly to the consumer with pieces that it sees as commercial distillations of its otherwise avant-garde design. These things — like a small bag with a top handle equipped with a resin cookie and a hand-knitted sweater that spell “Puppets” (the name of Mark’s little dog) —have been created as brand-name calling cards to oil the rest of the machine.
Shortly after PNP’s launch of e-commerce, the label got an exclusive with Ssense, which sold out of its stock of Puppets and Puppets handbags within a week. Now, with an expanded version of its signature handbag (Mark switched the put-on cookie, locked in a classic NY black and white), PNP will begin market deals next week and open its books to global wholesalers for the first time. – Misty White Sidell
When and where founded: Founded in 2016 in New York City by designer Raul Lopez, who is also a co-founder of Hood by Air.
The look: Tight tailoring, deconstruction and subversive fashion, influenced by men’s wear and tear, but clearly through Lopez’s Dominican cultural lens.
The highlight of the collection in the spring of 2022: The opening look, a black leather topcoat with harness details, shown on the ever-cool supermodel Omahyra. It was the epitome of downtown style.
NYFW effect: “This season was quite monumental for the brand, as it’s a huge comeback show after a few seasons of Sabbath, and the collection was quite personal to me,” Lopez said. “Along with ready to use, I introduced glasses and bags. We had media placements from GQ, Vogue, Elle, Complex, Highsnobiety, Le Figaro and more. Lourdes Leon, Kerby Jean-Raymond, ASAP Rocky, Kerwin Frost, Selah Marley and many more attended the show on a Friday night, where it really felt like the New York energy was back. ”- Thomas Waller
When and where founded: Founded in LA in 2014.
The look: A modern and exuberant offering of American classic sportswear.
Fall 2021 (Hudson is see now, buy now) Highlights of the collection: Any number of colorful power suits, coats or one of the dazzling final dresses that exemplified Hudson’s vision of high octane glamor and black excellence.
NYFW effect: “The show felt incredibly successful. Our collection was made available immediately after our fashion show. Since then, several styles have sold out, the media has been enthusiastic, ”Hudson said. “Most importantly, customers and friends of Sergio Hudson have shown great support on social media and in stores.”
Sheila E kicked off the runway show in song, and Audra McDonald wore a custom crimson wool crepe off-the-shoulder ball gown to perform at Monday’s Met Gala. – TW
When and where founded: New York City in 2018.
The look: Effortlessly cool, modernist tailoring with an elegant, urban feel and architectural forms. Over time, the designer has woven more fluid, feminine layers along with the more masculine silhouettes and constantly strong, harder accessories.
Spring 2022 collection highlight: While the new designer’s label has been making waves since its inception, spring marked Do’s debut landing show. Set on Brooklyn’s Skyline Drive In Theater with a picturesque Manhattan backdrop, the designer debuted his new American look with divinely tailored contrast to softer layers and references to his Vietnamese heritage.
NYFW effect: On Wednesday, Do was announced for the CFDA American Womenswear Designer of the Year award. “We named our show ‘Home’ because together we wanted to make an impact on our home turf, NYC – bringing our families into our moment and sharing what we’ve built over the last three years,” said Do. “The runway show was our moment to step into a new chapter, a new scene and tell our story. It was important to talk about representation and our immigrant stories, but in our expression. The excitement and impact was immediate: we received so many sales deals that we had to close our books! The press and editorial staff have been positive; most of all, the show gave us a connecting point to a larger audience, both IRL in NYC but globally via social. The show was an electric connection point, the moment we could feel we had entered a new chapter. ”- Emily Mercer
Where and when is it founded: In September 2020, Brooklyn, NY McKnight, whose CV includes kith and Bode, launched its collection amid the Black Lives Matter protests with comfortable wardrobe pins based on silhouettes popular with black youth but in updated materials. “My original collection was an ode to the black everyday, and I reinvented silhouettes we’ve seen for years,” said McKnight, who is adept at designing everything from a shorts set to a bespoke suit.
The look: Casual fit, textured knits, technical details and modern workwear.
Spring 2022 highlights: A trend-right, polished-casual collection of mostly unisex pieces that ran the gamut from street-ready slouchy sweatpants to a cropped leather jacket. For his spring inspiration, he extended his inclusive vision to what society considers “perfect families and their respective representations in pop culture.” His goal, he said, was to “imagine the family to propose a new idea of perfection” – or “to suggest alternatives to the stereotypical characters in a family.”
Among McKnight’s favorites of the season were the goalie set, which was created to look like a woven beach chair, the fishermen’s pullover tunic dipped in organic indigo dye to mimic the sea, the recycled polyester nylons and even the handmade water bottles. Other highlights included a knitted wrap skirt that could be used as a towel, organic cotton pajamas, a trench coat with a pleated back and workwear-inspired striped pants.
NYFW effect: Compared to the week of September 1-7, Connor McKnight’s Instagram account saw a 1,927 percent increase in content interactions, reaching 330 percent more accounts under NYFW. – Jean E. Palmieri