Men’s Fashion Week in New York was an eventful time — with shows representing every designer from Fear of God to Vetements (seriously, check this one out). While there are many shows worth discussing, I want to focus on NYFW:M on a broader scale:

Raf Simons

Raf unveiled his Fall 2017 Men’s Collection in New York this past week. Having recently moved to New York for his new position at Calvin Klein, he seemed to draw from the feel of New York City, combining boxy and checkered topcoats with “I heart NY” sweaters. “I wanted to go back to how I experienced New York in the beginning and combine it with how I experience it now. So this fresh young direction to the city and everything it stands for—and what is happening now,” Simons said when asked about his inspiration for the show in Vogue.  In reference to the current political climate, Vogue asked Simons if President Donald Trump’s election has influenced his work, and while he says it has not, his desire to represent the rich history of the city and all of its people is an inherent celebration of the immigrant narrative in this country. “Ask me do I think that you should stand up against what is happening in this country, then I say yes,” he also added. 

While Simons gave credit to the beauty of the city and its rich history, it wasn’t the NYC sweaters that stood out to me. The detail that made many of the looks was the cinching on the outerwear. It’s something that has become a staple of many Dries van Noten shirts, and it really allows some outerwear, that could otherwise be viewed as somewhat plain, to shine.

Simons’ coverage in the news has not been exclusive to his eponymous line, though. Calvin Klein has also been making waves these past few weeks, giving the Belgian designer a jam-packed schedule. Coming off of showing his first designs since taking over as Calvin Klein’s Chief Creative Officer, where they announced that customers could schedule appointments for made to measure clothing, the fashion house recently took to Instagram to let the world know that they have changed their logo. This is all in anticipation for the Fall/Winter 2017 ready-to-wear collection which is set to show on February 10th in New York.

The Runway Gets Political

There has never been a more fitting time for fashion shows to be in New York than this past week. While President Donald Trump’s proposed immigration ban was sending shockwaves through the country, there were dozens of fashion houses with foreign designers, foreign employees and foreign models showing their collections for, among other people, Americans. To me, it perfectly encapsulates the point that many people have tried to drive home over the last week: Our country is strengthened by all of the people from all over the world who come here to have an impact. While most of these designers will soon return to their respective countries, they did not waste any time to voice their opinions (both on the runway and off).

Detroit-raised designer John Varvatos told the New York Times, “Half the people in my company are from someplace else” in response to Trump’s executive order, echoing the fears of many people in this country, especially as we await the court decision on the ban. Of the most on-the-nose demonstrations on the runway, Nick Graham welcomed Buzz Aldrin and Bill Nye to his Mars-themed show, where Nye addressed those who deny climate change. Meanwhile, Robert Jamesmade statements on the immigration ban, with models sporting signs with messages like “Made in a Sanctuary City” or “Bridges not Walls.” Both can be seen here.

Fashion, like other forms of art, can be a powerful way to send a message. There are thousands of people who go to the shows, write about them online and end up purchasing the items when they hit stockists. For many people in the United States and around the world, this is a tumultuous time, and it’s reassuring to see designers using their platforms to express their discontent, even at the potential cost of customers.

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