New York Fashion Week: Men's FW2017: The Most Political Season Yet

New York Fashion Week: Men’s was, for the lack of a better and more succinct word, everything. I walked into the shows, feeling refreshed and excited by what some of the designers were putting out. It was certainly a step up and above from last season, as Ken Downing of Neiman Marcus alluded to. It didn’t take much digging or probing to determine what some of the prevailing aesthetic trends and conversations were. Here’s a breakdown of each distinct element I saw that made NYFWM a true spectacle this FW2017: 

1. The #Resistance is very real.

For the first time ever in the infancy of NYFWM, things got heated and political. And I am glad it did. As we’re just coming off the coattails of a very controversial election season, some of the designers utilized NYFWM as a platform to express and react. It was certainly and personally heartwarming for me to see By Robert James having his entire collection revolve around a protest against the our current administration, while Private Policy took a more subtle approach by promoting inclusion of all forms in religion, status and sexuality. The season ended with John Varvatos as a bonafide rock banger staged at the Diamond Horseshoe. Although not outright political from a visual perspective, Varvatos took the time off-stage to voice his opinion on socio-political climate: “It’s hitting people like a dagger in the heart,” when asked to comment on the recent immigration ban.

2. Gender fluidity is the PRESENT.

At least this was the case with newcomers to the NYFWM scene, Kozaburo and Matthew Adams Dolan. Kozaburo brought gender fluid punk-rock to an entirely new level. With David Bowie’s passing in 2016, it was delightful to see his spirit well and alive in Kozaburo’s collection. There was a definite nod with the spiked-up short hairstyles, chunky platform boots paired with bell bottom trousers that will surely be in hot demand this coming Fall/Winter, if isn’t already. Matthew Adams Dolan brought a palpable tribe-like spirit to gender fluidity, blanketing his models in well-constructed overcoats, oversized tops and voluminous trousers. There was something particularly larger-than-life at this presentation, perhaps in reference to the on-going issues that continue to plague our respective communities or the coming of age. A somberness pervaded over the show, possibly signifying the end of innocence. I also want to commend Dolan's choices in casting a diverse range of models not seen at some of the other bigger shows. 

There was something particularly larger-than-life at this presentation, perhaps in reference to the on-going issues that continue to plague our respective communities or the coming of age.

3. High-end streetwear continues to be a dominant theme.

It seems like the fuccboi look is here to stay. This was most evident at Stampd, Represent, and even at General Idea, where the lines between traditional tailoring meets streetwear swagger were blurred. Whereas at Palmiers Du Mal, we saw a more relaxed, almost Cuban-esque side of streetwear, with lush velvet fabrications, satin velvet shirts and a strong corduroy ensemble; the billowy trousers were sensational — where outdoor paradise meets indoor comforts. There was absolutely no shortage of excellent furry outerwear options, ranging from coats made of exquisite mohair to chinchilla and plenty of shearling.

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To be honest, I came into this season of NYFWM not expecting much. But it was the triumphant return I needed to see. Yes, I couldn’t squeeze myself into the Raf Simons show. Though disappointed, I was very happy to see Raf’s exemplary collection online and all throughout social media. It was the validation that NYFWM needed to keep going for seasons to come. More importantly still, it was very empowering to see a fleet of menswear designers stepping up their game and espousing for inclusivity, liberty and equal rights for all. 

All images taken by Tommy Lei and ©MYBELONGING