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5 highlights from New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2021

It was a quiet affair this year, what with big names like Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors decided to opt out, but it was quietly eventful nevertheless. 

September: What used to be the most frantic month of the year for everybody in the fashion industry has seemingly, for the first time ever, swept past rather quietly. Whether its the launch of the September issue, in-store seasonal drops or the month-long extravaganza known as Fashion Week — everything that used to have us mark our calendars and set our alarms has come and gone with little fanfare and attention.

It also comes at an era where our priorities continue to shift away from consumerism and materialism: Brands are instead working hard to adapt to new priorities and values in the wake of this new normalcy. New York Fashion Week, which recently concluded its four-day schedule, saw many such efforts from brands. Scroll down to take a look at some of the highlights and takeaways from NYFW SS21.

Mask up, but make it fashion

Face masks have both officially and unofficially became a must-have everyday accessory for everybody, so, naturally, brands from Christian Siriano to Alice + Olivia, Chromat and more have incorporated their own takes on face coverings in their latest collection. Siriano, one of the first designers who helped with mask-production to cope with NYC’s insufficient protective supplies, went above and beyond to create one for each look, incorporating matching designs to the collection inspired by his lockdown pastimes.

CFDA honours Black designers

The 2020 CFDA Fashion Awards, held on 15 September, has perhaps shown the US fashion industry’s commitment to initiate change. Not one but three Black designers were awarded across three categories: Telfar for Accessories Designer of the Year, Christopher John Rogers for Emerging Designer of the Year and Kerby Jean-Raymond for Menswear Designer of the Year. At the same time, the eco-minded Gabriela Hearst was honoured as Womenswear Designer of the Year.

A celebration of New York resilience

New York City became epicentre of the CoViD-19 crisis soon after the global outbreak, and many businesses — regardless of industry — continue to suffer today. Empowered by the continued resilience of New Yorkers, Cynthia Rowley took to the streets with her ‘The Show Must Go On‘ video presentation, capturing the spirit of the Big Apple as models danced and strolled around the city, while a live band cheered everyone on with joyful tunes. Meanwhile, Alice + Olivia celebrated the energy of NYC artists and creatives with a dance performance, with dancers all dressed in the brand’s SS21 creations.

Sweatsuits forever

From left: Cynthia Rowley, Veronica Beard, Nicole Miller and Maisie Wilen

The sweatshirts and pants have become such an integral part of our lockdown experience, designers such as Veronica Beard, Nicole Miller, Rodarte, Cynthia Rowley, among others have interpreted them into elevated versions that will allow us to continue the connection post-pandemic.

Comfort is king

From left: Self-Portrait, Tibi and Jason Wu

If sweatsuits aren’t your thing, comfort has got to be. Adapting to this new lifestyle that demands comfortable but presentable pieces, brands from Jason Wu to Self Portrait and Tibi have presented designs with key focus on comfort, versatility, and accessibility. The result? Effortless-looking creations that will help us feel put-together without a hint of overdressing, whether we’re out for dinner catch-ups or simply staying home.

This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong.

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