In New York, fashion designers are doing well

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The second day of New York Fashion Week fell on an abnormally hot day. Temperatures reached nearly 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and the atmosphere was just as boiling.

Through parades, designers eschewed stuffiness and formality, in favor of looser gatherings focused on joy and happiness. Several designers called their presentations “celebrations” and an antidote to the somewhat depressing atmosphere of recent fashion weeks, disrupted by the ongoing pandemic.

“The most important element for us was that we just wanted to party,” said Amy Smilovic, creative director of Tibi. On Monday, Tibi will host a combination of virtual movies and in-person presentations. For Smilovic, joy was a key theme.

“It’s gotten so sad lately,” she said. “Not only do you not leave NYFW happier, you actually leave sadder. So I just wanted to do something happy. It’s a party where you feel immersed in the collection.

Glen Proctor, one half of the twin brother design duo behind accessories brand BruceGlen, shared a similar sentiment.

“One of the things we wanted to push was the idea that #fashionisfunagain,” Procter said. “It’s a hashtag we use a lot. The fashion industry can be very stuffy, very exclusive and not inclusive. We wanted to establish a brand that everyone could wear. There really is a need for that right now. »

One of the things we wanted to push was the idea that #fashionisfunagain. The fashion industry can be very stuffy, very exclusive and not inclusive. We wanted to establish a brand that everyone could wear.

Glen Proctor, co-CEO of BruceGlen

The idea that NYFW could ease the doldrums extended even off the tracks. Athleisure brand Alo Yoga is the “Official Wellness Partner” of NYFW: The Shows. The brand hosted a NYFW mental health “wellness sanctuary” this morning during NYFW, which will run throughout the weekend, offering guided meditation for NYFW attendees.

It feels good to be back

While this season’s NYFW saw a fair number of cancellations, much like September, it also saw some brands return for their first in-person show in years.

Patricia Bonaldi, the Brazilian couture designer behind PatBo, spent a full year working on the collection she showed this afternoon. This is only her second show since she started doing RTW in the US just five years ago. For her, being back in person was an emotional moment.

“I made all these clothes in my hometown in Brazil,” she said. “I spent the last year of my life working on it, so showing it here in front of everyone is very special.”

His show, held at Surrogate Court on Chambers Street – where, another audience member informed me, they are filming “Law & Order: SVU” – was packed. Influencers like Nicky Hilton and Olivia Palermo filled the front rows. It was a throwback feeling to the pre-pandemic days of NYFW. For Bonaldi, the drawings were also a throwback.

“Twenty years ago I started with handmade dresses,” she said. “It wasn’t until I started selling in the US that I started doing a lot of beach wear, resort wear. But my background is in sewing. And that’s what I like to do: mix a bit of beachwear and resort sex appeal with couture. It feels good to do that again. »

Chelsea Hansford, creative director of Los Angeles lifestyle brand Simon Miller, said she finds in-person presentations, press days and shows the best way for her to communicate what she wants do with his collections.

“This is the first time we have returned to New York in two years to re-enter the market,” Hansford said. “We like to show things in person. Meeting editors, influencers and press, and seeing them in person, is so much more impactful. Showing the universe of the brand is really important. That’s what excites me. »

5 questions to designers BruceGlen Bruce and Glen ProctWhere

Twin Brother Creators Bruce and Glen Proctor relaunched their brand, BruceGlen, with a focus on accessories in 2019 and quickly established themselves as designers to watch. Their bags and accessories, sold at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s, have earned them a Elevate Grant of Stitch Fix and recognition of Vogue, Nylon and Cosmopolitan.

Ahead of their very first NYFW show on Tuesday, the brothers spoke with Glossy about what the show means to them and the avenues new designers can take to grow.

Give me a brief history of the brand.

Bruce Procter: We relaunched the brand in 2019, but we actually first launched it in 2006.

Glen Proctor: It all started as a ready-to-wear collection. We did a few seasons and sold in some stores, but ultimately we just couldn’t sustain the brand. We went back to working full-time for other brands, mostly urban ones. We designed for Marc Ecko, Sean John and Nicki Minaj. We were independent for a while, then eventually we decided we missed having our own brand. We relaunched ourselves as an accessories brand with the Grenade bag. It was the launch product. It really took off. We showed our first collection in 2020, and it has only grown since then.

How important is NYFW to new or up-and-coming designers?

Glen Proctor: For us, it’s really special. We moved to New York 16 years ago, we loved fashion and went to NYFW back then.

Bruce Procter: That was so long ago: they were still doing it at Bryant Park.

Glen Proctor: We would choose our outfits and we would come out of the tent and try to meet people. And after a few seasons, it got a little daunting. It was so unreachable. How’s it going ? How to be part of CFDA Fashion Week? It doesn’t happen. It was a dream that we put aside, because we thought we couldn’t have it.

Bruce Procter: But this year, everything fell into place, and here we are. So I think NYFW is very powerful, at least in the sense that you feel like you’ve succeeded.

What is your theme for the show? What did you want to do with it?

Glen Proctor: We wanted to do something special. We lost our mother about eight years ago. And to put it lightly, we’ve had traumatic incidents between the two of us over the past few months, and it’s just been a rough time. We thought of our mother and the lessons and ideals she had instilled in us, and it felt right to do something to honor her. The collection is therefore inspired by her; it’s called Look Mom. And the whole show contains stories inspired by her.

You were a Stitch Fix scholarship recipient a few weeks ago. What will you do with this grant and this opportunity?

Bruce Procter: We’re excited to be a part of that — [it involves] amazing designers, lots of sustainable designers in particular. Being on the Stitch Fix platform is already huge, in terms of exposure. The grant also comes with mentorship, and that has been just as valuable as the money. [You get] so many good relationships with other designers, with buyers and creatives.

Glen Proctor: The money will mainly go to production. We are expanding our wholesale business a lot, and if you have, you know that retailers want large orders which are very expensive to start with. Often when you see young designers failing, it’s because they’ve overworked themselves with big orders for retailers. So the money allows us to develop that side of the business.

What do you think is the best growth path for emerging creators today, in terms of DTC and retail?

Glen Proctor: Department stores and DTCs are super important. We started in 2019 as a DTC only, and we made great margins on our handbags, which we could keep at a good price. This is the advantage of DTC. But honestly, being in Saks Fifth Avenue or Bloomingdale’s brings us to a whole different audience. The downside is that often it can take a while before you get paid for a large bulk order. DTC helps us with day to day costs as we get payment from Shopify every three days, while wholesale helps us with discovery and those large orders.

Both are therefore important. DTC is good for you to establish. Again, I think going too big too fast on bulk orders can be really difficult.

Sunday preview

Tomorrow, NYFW stalwarts including Dennis Basso and Altuzarra will present their collections, along with Eckhaus Latta and his “10 Years of Eckhaus Latta” show at Spring Studios. The Black in Fashion Council will host a discovery showroom with 10 exciting black designers running through Wednesday.

More NYFW coverage

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