From the moment that I realized one could use the internet to watch fashion shows, I have been doing so. And despite the hype and pretension, I still have a desire to attend fashion week in the future. However, my longstanding love for fashion week waned as I learned more about social injustices – and saw them reflected on the runway. Reading accounts by black models of how difficult it is to have their hair properly styled or even being turned away because well-known designers aren’t “casting black models this season” disinterested me. I realized that I had been in love with an entity that never really saw or understood me.
In recent years, there’s been a shift and NYFW has become more inclusive. This September (a.k.a. Fashion Month), I appreciated the diversity in terms of race, body type, gender identity and age on the runways and in presentations. This diversity on the modeling side has restored my hope for fashion week’s future, yet I was reminded that we still need more designers of color. I was dazzled by the designs of my longtime favorite Cushnie et Ochs and rooted for Shayne Oliver’s Helmut Lang debut, but my total count of designers of color came up short.
I am doubly disappointed to be underwhelmed by this season as a whole, but my love for the art persists. All of the above photos are my favorite looks from the season thus far (hover over image for designer credit). When reviewing runway shows, I ask myself: do I like this only because I would wear it? Also, can I separate my respect from the artistry from my desire (or lack thereof) to wear it? Answering no to the former and yes to the latter is ideal. Here, I’ve tried to strike a fine balance between being fair and wanting certain pieces for myself. I just really want a lucite briefcase in my closet ASAP and to see more black and brown designers going forward.