The official first day of New York fashion week was one filled with emerging brands and promising talents. Creatures of the Wind offered its strongest showing in some time, filled with the quirky, well crafted, cool-girl looks that initially made Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters design darlings. There was a lot of retail potential here, but as Proenza Schouler announced that it, too, would be joining the show-now-buy-now movement, burgeoning lines like COTW are considering how they will adapt to the new landscape. After discussing the Modernist-inspired lineup post-show, Gabier admitted that the proposed, direct-to-consumer cycle would be challenging for a small brand like his. But that’s not to say that Gabier doesn’t find the prospect of a show-now-buy-now element exciting. This season, Creatures used vintage earrings on the runway alongside chokers by Pamela Love, and Gabier suggested that selling such pieces instantly on their website would be a meaningful way to give shoppers a piece of the runway experience.
Gabier is not alone in his feelings about this new production model. Adam Selman, who debuted a collection inspired by Making a Murderer at Milk Studios last night, echoed Gabier’s sentiments. “I’m still figuring out how I feel about it,” said Selman after walking me through his moody velvet, denim, and tulle confections. (Side note: I got some serious Twin Peaks vibes while watching the show, and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed that). “I think fashion should have a conversation about these things that are happening. How do we, as designers, not give away our ideas for free? Fast fashion brands can produce (our ideas) in four weeks, and we struggle to produce them in six months,” he continued. “It’s an interesting conversation and I think we have to drive it forward and figure out what’s best for young designers—and what’s best for big fashion houses.”
What’s best for Selman, for the moment, anyway, is sticking to his guns—something he did well this season by combining his signature, retro girlish kitsch with a new sense of maturity. “At the end of the day, what’s really important to me is producing great clothes that girls want to wear. I want to create beautiful things at an approachable price point for girls who want something different.” From his grosgrain-embellished velvet pajamas to a denim puffer coat, Selman’s Fall collection achieved just that.
Area, an up-and-coming brand I’ve been keeping my eye on since its launch three years ago, closed out the evening with a collection for him and her that further proved there are young designers in New York worth rooting for. Inspired by femininity and all its clichéd forms, the outing featured furs, wools, and embossed lamé in both soft and shocking pinks, black, navy, and nude. The craftsmanship here was impeccable, but what I find most impressive is that there is nothing derivative about just-out-of-school designers Beckett Fogg’s and Piotrek Panszczyk’s work. Their aesthetic is completely their own, and they continue to successfully build upon it season after season. Area has gained so much traction, in fact, that they’ve decided to launch a Web store in May to cater to international demand. So what is Panszczyk’s take on the impending fashion shift? “For us, it’s quite difficult to do instant direct-to-consumer because we produce everything ourselves,” he explained. “But we are going to do more direct-to-consumer sales when we launch our ecommerce Website in May. “When we did our pre-collection, girls and boys from all over the world started sending us messages on Instagram, Tumblr, and e-mail, asking where they could buy the clothes. So for us, it’s a perfect time to open up to the real people who want to wear Area.” If they continue on this track, that pool will just keep growing and growing.