Today it was announced that Alexander Wang is the latest major designer to leave New York Fashion Week. This coming February, Wang will forgo a show (and his infamous after-parties) and transition to showing his collections in December and June instead.
From my perspective as an editor, the fashion world has been in a constant state of flux for the past year or so. Designers are coming and going from posts at major institutions, and other New York designers have turned fashion week into what almost feels like a game of musical chairs. Proenza Schouler, Rodarte, and Altuzarra are just a few of the brands that have left NYFW for Paris so far.
So where does that leave New York Fashion Week? Actually, if you ask me, in an exciting place. As the fashion world shifts and new business models have emerged, young designers have the ability to set themselves apart in a way they never have before. Whether it be an expertly designed Instagram or the dexterity of direct-to-consumer shopping, there's plenty of space for small brands to play.
While there are still heavy hitters to look forward to (Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, and Ralph Lauren to name a few), there are a number of young designers worth keeping an eye out for. From born-and-raised NYC brands like Sandy Liang to international up-and-comers like Maki Oh, having space in a jam-packed schedule to actually go and see these younger brands in person—to meet the designers instead of having them hidden behind a giant runway facade, is part of what inspires and drives my love for what I do. I'll still have the opportunity to see Wang's collections on their new schedule, but for emerging brands to have a sweeping audience assembled in the city at once, a presentation can have a big impact.
Maybe it makes sense that New York is the place to celebrate those on the rise. There's something scrappy about this city that makes it a place you love and feel exhausted in all at the same time. It's clear to me that the coming few years will continue to be studded with new and unexpected changes in the industry; Wang himself may even come back to NYFW, and he wouldn't be the first to do so. But in the meantime, let's look to fashion week as a chance to highlight (and celebrate) those designers who may just be following in Wang's own footsteps. Find a few of my favorites below.