Ever since its beginning in 1943, New York Fashion Week has been something of a fairytale. For this one week, designers, models, celebrities, and the fashion-obsessed gather in one of America’s most iconic and creative cities for shows where the stars aren’t the men and women on the catwalk, but the garments adorning their bodies. It is the clothes and accessories the audience is drawn to. The crowds sit on the edge of their seats to get a glimpse of what some of the major designers have deemed “in” for the upcoming seasons. And without a prior discussion, there is always at least one universal theme prominent among designers.
Now that has to be the result of magic.
The Fall/Winter 2015 New York shows took place February 11-19 among near-zero temperatures and snow. While it wasn’t ideal, the weather created the perfect atmosphere for the preview of what we would all see out on the streets next fall and winter. It was not too much of a stretch of the imagination to see these garments on the women in their offices, on the women walking around the city with a lover, on the women spending a day out with their friends.
This is what was so groundbreaking about the clothes featured in these shows: they were universal. They were not catered to a specific target audience of rich socialite who would do anything to stand out from a crowd. Instead, the major trends were a little more subtle, while still having that “notice me” factor that’s so prevalent in fashion around the world. This season had many designers reaching into the 1970s, bringing back fringe, culottes, and vibrant colors (especially orange) and making it relevant in 2015. Also frequently spotted on the runway this season was fur (perfect for combatting another frigid winter like this one), embellishments (such as sparkles, studs, and sequins), feathers, and asymmetrical hemlines.
The best part of the trends for fall? How multidimensional they are. With any of the trends seen on the runway, they can be incorporated in a number of different ways. Colors can pop up on any piece of clothing or accessory, and other trends- such as feathers and embellishments- can be either subtle or bold, depending on the intensity. Someone can choose to incorporate one of these trends into an outfit in a way that allows them to still blend into a crowd, and someone else can choose to go all out with one of these trends and become the center of attention. It all comes down to personal preference.
This season’s Fashion Week was groundbreaking in other ways as well. The Internet exploded when Jamie Brewer, most well known for her acting on FX’s American Horror Story, walked the runway in Carrie Hammer’s show on February 12. Prior to that day, no one with Down syndrome had ever walked in Fashion Week before. In the same show, Dr. Danielle Sheypuk was the first woman to go down the runway in a wheelchair.
This was put together by Carrie Hammer, who recently launched the Role Models Not Runway Models campaign. The campaign had been in the works for over a year, beginning when she was first asked to include her collection in New York Fashion Week. The point of the campaign is to show real women doing incredible things across various fields wearing incredible clothes that are practical for their careers. It’s another way of empowering women by supporting their career aspirations and showing them that anything is possible when you put in the effort.
It’s things like this that are changing the fashion world for the better.