Why States of Undress Will Be Your Favorite New Fashion Show

Sarah King

In an industry where such a strong emphasis is placed on European and American designers, it’s easy to overlook all the incredible fashion moments that occur around the world. But thanks to Viceland, a new 24-hour cable channel from Vice and A&E, we’re getting a global glimpse at the realm of style.

The network’s docuseries States of Undress, which premiered last week, follows writer and model Hailey Gates as she investigates fashion and beauty customs within high-conflict regions. Her journey includes countries like Venezuela and China, but in the first episode, she heads to Pakistan. Keep reading to learn why we’re hooked after only one episode, and shop some of our favorite globally inspired pieces for spring.

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Viceland

See Gates in Action

For starters, model and writer Hailey Gates is the perfect host. She’s candid, and raises important questions throughout the series. Before States of Undress, Gates appeared in Miu Miu’s F/W 15 campaign shot by Steven Meisel, and starred alongside Meryl Streep in Ricky and the Flash. The New York University graduate also previously worked full-time at The Paris Review.

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Viceland

The Show Offers a Unique Look at Global Fashion

When Gates introduces us to Karachi Fashion Week, the feeling is almost bitter-sweet. On the one hand, it’s intriguing to see people from such an oppressed country come together to celebrate fashion and make a political statement. But on the other, it’s surreal to learn that the event must take place in a bomb-proof hotel, because at any moment an explosion can occur. The series ultimately provides an opportunity for us to see how other countries embrace the extravagant fashion shows we’re familiar with, while simultaneously dealing with their own cultural differences. After meeting with a range of people throughout the episode – most heart-wrenching were the female victims of acid attacks as a result of wearing “indecent clothing,” – Gates comes to the conclusion that fashion week in Karachi is deeper than a celebration of style, stating: “Fashion means more than clothing here. It’s about defending a choice.” She reminds us that it is a freedom many of us take for granted, and that it should ultimately be celebrated.

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Viceland

Learn About New Designers

For the most part, the designs at fashion week were modest, showcasing traditional fabrics and embroidery. But there was one duo that especially caught our attention: the design team that sent its models down the runway in bondage-inspired leather pieces. When Gates meets with them to discuss their risqué collection, the female designer notes that there is nothing sexual or fetishistic behind their concept; it is more about making a statement. Her design partner adds, “We want to prove Pakistani people that something that a big designer in Pakistan was afraid of doing, these two young people did it for the country.” Catch States of Undress on Viceland on Wednesdays at 10 p.m., and shop our favorite pieces inspired by global fashion below.

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