New York Fashion Week is a bi-annual celebration of craftsmanship, creativity and community. As we enter fall, inspiration and self expression can be found around every corner; on the streets, runways, and backstage with energy and excitement vibrating throughout every borough and beyond. This season fashion writer and trend forecaster Mandy Lee (@oldloserinbrooklyn) teamed up with Dr. Martens as Docs’ very first New York Fashion Week Correspondent. Now, she’s here to take you behind the scenes to highlight four emerging designers hot off the heels of NYFW.
The week kicked off with Fried Rice, a genderless fashion brand based in New York City. When I asked about her inspiration backstage, Fried Rice founder Maya Wang said, “Everything is about art. That’s why we named our brand Fried Rice, it’s a metaphor for the diversity of people from different cultural and artistic backgrounds.” During casting Wang sought out models with a unique story and background rooted in their own art, and as a result, her final lineup consisted exclusively of independent artists – ranging from musicians and singers to painters and sculptors. The clothes were immaculately tailored, versatile and classic with an edge; oversized silhouettes and platform boots for everyone! As models walked the space posing on modular structures and in front of their own art backdropping the studio, the parallels between movement between guests, models and garments synchronized in a presentation that can only be described as “by artists for artists”.
*Fried Rice’s flagship store is located in SoHo at 239 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012.
Sister founders of Detroit based brand Kelsey + Cassidy Tucker are masterful at storytelling through textile design, artistry and innovation. “For every collection I design, I write a story for it and reimagine the characters through the clothing, through the techniques,” said co-founder and creative director Kelsey Tucker when I chatted with her on show day. Deviate’s thrilling mix of clean silhouettes blended in with funky textiles, and bold splashes of color on hand painted Docs breathed new youthful energy into fashion week. The brand experimented with painting directly on shoes to tie in the theme of happy childhood memories, camp and friendship. All white Docs popped against all white looks while graffiti painted shoes walked in harmony with matching hoodies and knits. Bold, creative and bursting with wearability, Deviate is carving out their own niche in street wear from the midwest to NYC.
On the pulse of youth culture and innovation, emerging knitwear brand PH5 has gone viral for their colorful wavy asymmetrical dresses and color changing UV-reactive skirts. For their SS23 presentation hosted in the heart of SoHo, founder Wei Lin was inspired by the feeling of being underwater, sirens, and weird whimsical sea creatures. Models were draped in gauzy sheer fabrics, adorned with bright knits, sculptural accessories, clean white platform Dr. Martens sandals and whimsical silhouettes; an absolute explosion of color and joy sure to grace your Instagram feeds in no time. Lin has already found her playful niche, but is eager to continue innovating, she says, “we’re trying to be very playful with knitwear bringing in different textures, stitches and color combinations.” After stepping out of the presentation on my subway ride home, I could vividly picture Doja Cat or Olivia Rodrigo performing in a PH5 look. Their clothing screams it-girl and I’m really looking forward to seeing their upward trajectory continue to grow.
Midnight Studios collection titled ‘And Love Said No’ was presented at the Grand Lodge Room at historic Masonic Hall. Wall-to-wall red carpet, moody acoustics and theater seating set the vibe for the most punk collection of the week. Shane Gonzales founded the brand at just 19 years old and works to infuse his passion for music, skateboarding and streetwear into his clothes.
“This collection is primarily in collaboration with one of my favorite bands since I was 6 or 7 years old called HIM. Their iconography, their overall aesthetic and their music in general is a mix of melancholy and darker emotions with heavy metal melodies really inspired me,” Gonzales expressed to me just minutes before the show’s kick off. Soft creams, pinks, lace and tulle juxtaposed the brand’s signature use of heavier fabrics like leather and stiff denim, creating a swirling duality between hard and soft. Models walked the red carpeted room in platform boots, and studded oxfords in smudgy grunge inspired makeup and red leather gloves. After the initial presentation, a pianist jumped on the keys while models lined the stage for the clothes to be appreciated up close. My favorite touch was a boom box shaped handbag, crossing my fingers it will be available to buy soon!
Mandy’s NYFW Rotation: