As runway shows and hyper-focused presentations begin to kick off across the city for New York Fashion Week, one event manages to deviate from the traditional path. Each season, Agentry PR produces New York Men's Day, an event that brings together a vast array of exciting emerging and established designers under one roof. As viewers weave throughout the presentations strewn across three floors, they take in a variety of design styles—from bombastic flashes of color to reimaginings of traditional tailoring.
New York Men's Day Reveals the Chameleonic Evolution of Menswear
The event is always a highlight of New York Fashion Week
Below are some highlights of the many brands featured in the sprawling showcase, which featured footwear from Doc Martens throughout numerous shows.
A.POTTS has quickly become my most anticipated designer to witness at Men's Day and NYFW in general. Detroit-born designer Aaron Potts manages to concoct a unique show experience every year, partially due to his practice of relying on a fairly static roster of models for each collection. Through this practice, he produces a show that feels more like a democratized presentation of friends and family, all anchored by absolutely incredibly use of varying textures and eye-catching patterns. I was curious to hear a bit about the catalyst for this collection, NEORASCALISM, which he shared with ONE37pm:
"I wanted to do something that felt a little darker, a little more urban. And what it came from was, what I call the New York City that I fell in love with—which in my mind was super chic people, hustling through the street with some place to go, everybody was creative. That was the New York in my head, so that's what I wanted to share."
A standout of the entire day is a full suit of what appears to be fur, but Aaron informs me is actually an amalgam of "all these different textures of yarn knitted together to give the effect of fur."
A look from his Potts' FW21 collection is currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” exhibition, and with every presentation he continues to impress.
all beneath heaven
Comprised of all bespoke fabrics and organic dyes, the all beneath heaven Men's Day debut is an eclectic feast for the eyes, incorporating a wide range of color and texture against a mirrored backdrop. On a cadence that fluctuates between militant punctuality and seemingly flippant disregard, designer Jimmy Alexander rings a triangle, a trigger for the models to shift their positions. all beneath heaven was created in Los Angeles, but ultimately brought to fruition in South India with the help of Vogue 100 Innovator Nishanth Chopra, a leader in ethical sustainability, who runs all beneath heaven's manufacturing partner, the Oshadi Collective.
With his NYMD debut, Kent Anthony brings his industrial design background to a collection that is simultaneously minimalist and exceptionally complex.
"Kent Anthony is about visual communication. Each season we come up with a concept and a vibe, and it is important to communicate the story we're trying to tell in whatever visual medium it is. With an emphasis on fashion, but it is not limited to fashion," Anthony tells me when I ask him about the ethos of the burgeoning label, adding: "The concept always starts off with an illustration, and then that idea and concept is built out into the full collection."
I ask him a bit about his favorite aspects of the show and the background he brings to it:
"I like the movement, the flow is something that is very important to us in industrial design. That is what I went to school for. I want the eye to move through pieces and the lines to carry in through each other, similar to automotive design, where you don't just put a line on something, it needs to make sense through their whole situation."
The show also includes an interesting feature; all of the models have had their fingers dipped in deeply opaque black or white paint up to the second knuckle. Anthony tells me of the choice:
"Because I have such a multidisciplinary design perspective, I pull from a lot of different things. In graphic design, I put a little black circle or a little white circle on every page to visually anchor it, so the painted fingers are nothing more than me taking that idea and bringing it into three dimensions."
Terry Singh masterfully combines more traditional elements of masculine suiting with some historically feminine silhouettes, utilizing skirting throughout the entirety of his collections. The result is a unique take on menswear that is simultaneously traditional and future-facing, all punctuated by masterful tailoring.
The brand is—as always—a beautiful experimentation in the dichotomy between the masculine and feminine.
In the brand's first presentation at NYMD, designer Beam Rachapol Ngaongam and her brand Bulan use a wooden tree as the center piece of a space surrounded by models in gloriously colorful knits and scarves. The collection is inspired by mental health issues and their complexity - starting with the fascination of how the human body works and resulting with an exploration of the concept of sadness versus beauty and the point where they meet.
The result is a chaotic yet unified arrangement of garments relying on color inspiration from German-born American painter Hans Hofmann. Bulan's debut at NYMD is a standout of the event, inviting attendees into a kaleidoscopic world of vibrant color schemes and disparate textures.
For his NYFW debut, designer Julian Octavio Medina Alvarez creates a collection predominantly centered around the color black and the notion of living in the shadows. He shares the ethos of the show with ONE37pm:
"Black is a sentiment. I have a lot to say, and through the color black, I get the message out there. [The models] are not angry, but they don't want to be bothered. That very much speaks to how I approach things. Not because I think highly of myself, but everyone is just full of shit. And black just sits in the shadows. That's where I feel comfortable. I'm Colombian, I'm an immigrant, I'm not from this country. It just resonates with me, living in the shadows."
For Nicholas Raefski's third appearance at NYMD, the designer produces a collection around the concept of the "The Hero's Journey." The show, entitled “Leap of Faith,” is intended as the first step in the journey for the brand. He invokes pop culture icons and vivid color to in a practice of breaking out of the standard mold of fashion.
The pieces build on traditional denim silhouettes of trucker jackets, wide jeans and more, all accented with fraying or stitching to create a deviation from classic looks.
Raleigh Denim Workshop is the American enterprise / art project / romantic adventure started by Victor Lytvinenko and Sarah Yarborough. What started as an exploration of denim has ballooned into a fully-fledged denim business combined with an art collective; the show was one-part runway performance and one-part multimedia presentation. Between walks, musical performances and artists sketch members of the audience to create a full interdisciplinary viewing experience.
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