While glossy September issues may be losing their lustre, fashion week never fails to flood New York City with editors, actresses, models and fashion personalities racing around more than one hundred shows packed into six days. The synchronized global pilgrimage that is the Spring/Summer show season begins in the Big Apple, before heading to London, Milan and wrapping up in Paris on October 2.
Since acquiring the Fashion Calendar in 2014, the Council of Fashion Designers of America has managed official scheduling, applications and participation in the official CFDA schedule. According to the CFDA, the September 12 end date of New York Fashion Week gives jetsetting showgoers “an extra day” before the London schedule commences on September 14.
With influences ranging from West Africa to Budapest, here are the five designers gracing CFDA’s official schedule for the first time this September during New York Fashion Week.
After graduating from Parsons, Marina Moscone honed her skills at Peter Som as the label’s design director and worked at a fashion agency. She launched her namesake label in 2016 (her sister Francesca is the president and CEO), which has been worn by Kate Hudson and Kourtney Kardashian. Every Marina Moscone design is handmade in the brand’s studio in Chelsea using raw materials from Italy.
“Showing officially in fashion week means so much on a personal level: it’s all I’ve wanted to do since I was three years old,” says Moscone, recounting her childhood spent taking notes and sketching designs while watching fashion programs on TV. “Being on the CFDA calendar gives me the ability to convey a message on a bigger level, and international visibility is really invaluable for the business.”
Prior to being listed on the CFDA schedule, Moscone presented her Fall/Winter collection in February at the High Line Hotel with a live choir.
“What I hope stands out in the new collection is the relationship between silhouette and craftsmanship, sculpture and design, and above all, the mood of the woman,” says Moscone. “Silhouettes are always an ongoing evolution for me in building the Marina Moscone wardrobe; I want you to be able to pair something from this collection with something from two seasons ago.”
Marina Moscone is currently stocked by major online retailers Forty Five Ten and Moda Operandi, and Moscone says the brand will launch with a major retailer in September.
After graduating from the London College of Fashion in 2005, Sandra Sandor founded Nanushka in her hometown of Budapest, a label which has since become Hungary’s leading global contemporary fashion brand. Sandor’s designs—worn by Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Uma Thurman and Jodie Foster—include breezy staples and versatile separates that evoke European chic.
“We see ourselves as merging the best of a digitally native brand that is defining a new era in retail, and a classic European fashion house,” says Peter Baldaszti, Sandor’s partner and Nanushka’s CEO as of 2016. Over an 18 month period, the duo reported 1000% growth, fueled by retail partnerships with Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom, SSENSE, Net-A-Porter and Liberty London, among others. This February, Nanushka opened its Budapest flagship, and a successful LA pop-up will transition into a permanent brick-and-mortar location later this year. Sandor and Baldaszti are also planning to open a store in New York, slated for early 2019.
Although this September is the first time Nanushka is showing on CFDA’s official Fashion Week calendar, the brand presented independently in New York last season to an audience of approximately 250 attendees. “We chose New York as the location for our presentation since we don’t have European roots in Paris or London, so we wanted to establish ourselves somewhere there is a desire for openness and curiosity,” says Sandor.
2017 LVMH Prize Finalist and Special Prize winner Kozaburo Akasaka launched his namesake label in 2017 after earning an MFA from Parsons on a scholarship. Originally studying philosophy at university in Japan, Akasaka moved to London to pursue fashion at Central Saint Martins and relocated to New York shortly after to work for Thom Browne for two years.
“My expression through fashion is about my own journey from where I started in Japan, then going to Europe and finally coming to the U.S,” he says of his designs, which are mostly manufactured in his native Japan and stocked at Dover Street Market, SSENSE and Opening Ceremony, among others. “I was exposed to the Japanese aesthetic, the English tailoring style and American casual clothing and workwear, and my own voice is a mashup of these elements.”
While Kozaburo is technically a menswear label, Akasaka isn’t fazed about showing at women’s fashion week. “I don’t see my garments as strictly menswear, although they are menswear-driven,” he says, adding that his wife often sports his creations. “My brand breaks the boundaries between men and women.”
Akasaka—who has presented in Paris for the past two seasons—also acknowledges the decline in New York Fashion Week: Men’s, which makes showing in September an advantage. “I feel like people admit that Men’s is getting weak, while September feels more energetic and allows my brand to get more attention since more people I know are in town.”
Studio One Eighty Nine
Studio One Eighty Nine, this year’s winner of the CFDA + Lexus Fashion* Initiative, was founded by Abrima Erwiah and Rosario Dawson in 2013 and is based between New York and West Africa.
“Or project is about working with marginalized communities and creating opportunities for change, because we’ve always wanted to empower people in developing countries,” says Erwiah, who previously worked at Bottega Veneta. Studio One Eighty Nine produces African-inspired clothing by working with artisanal communities—in collaboration with the UN—that specialize in traditional craftsmanship techniques.
“Being on the CFDA calendar as our own brand shines a spotlight on what we’re doing,” she says. “If people come to our show and buy our brand, it allows us to grow, train workers and empower the whole supply chain.”
The label proves that runway fashion can be mission-driven, although Erwiah is aware of the complexities that arise when high fashion and charitable initiatives interact. “I didn’t want to get lots of press at the beginning because there is a narrative that comes from Africa that has been perpetuated for a long time,” she says. “It’s important for us to change that story and highlight the beauty of Africa beyond the typical stories you hear.”
Christopher John Rogers
Christopher John Rogers graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2016, and moved to New York to hone his skills by working with the likes of Jonathan Saunders and Rosie Assoulin. He was selected as one of the CFDA Design Graduates of 2016, which he says put his label on the CFDA’s radar ahead of applying to be on the official fashion week calendar.
“My designs always emphasize assertive femininity and embrace nuance,” says Rogers. “I don’t think you have to dress soberly to be taken seriously, and I think our clothes allow the wearer to embrace frivolity and power without compromising intellect and individuality.”
While many presentations that happen off the calendar each season, “being on the calendar solidifies you as someone to watch, and someone the CFDA believes in as both talent and as a business,” Rogers says, adding that he is currently reaching out to boutiques and department stores aligned with the brand’s aesthetic.
According to the designer, the Christopher John Rogers presentation in September will feature strong color, tailoring, the introduction of nuanced and muted color, and inspiration from 1930s French couture and 1970s West African photography, while “exploring a full wardrobe”.
Beyond these five, three emerging designers from Vogue’s 2017 Fashion Future Graduate Showcase will present at the CFDA/LIFEWTR presentation: RISD graduate Jamall Osterholm explores black masculine culture through the historical perspective of slavery. New York-based menswear designer Daniel Cloke, also a RISD graduate, focuses on digitally-rendered art. Korean-born textile designer and Parsons graduate Ji Won Choi (pictured above) has received numerous accolades for her work from the likes of Kering and Yoox.
This post originally appeared on forbes