New York City may be the base for the United Nations, but it’s also become the home of the United Nations of fashion.
Unlike any other fashion capital, Seventh Avenue has undergone a remarkable transformation in the past decade. Where once the industry was the domain of Italian-Americans and Jewish immigrants in pursuit of the American dream, it is now a melting pot reflective of the changing demographics of the city itself.
A growing number of newly arrived or first-generation Asian-American and Hispanic designers are making their mark on the runway. The fashion week schedule reads more like a roll call for the U.N. General Assembly — with designers who were either born here, or moved here from locales including China, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Nepal, Cuba and Iran. They are also increasingly a presence in design rooms and corporate and retail positions.
“Historically, it does appear the fashion design industry in New York City used to be more Jewish and WASP, whereas now there’s an increasing number of Asian-American, Hispanic-American and African-American designers,” said Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. “We know they have always been there, but they may not have been so prominent in the past — they may have been more backstage before. There’s more of a premium on creativity in the industry than in the past, when we’d largely copy France.”
Eugenia Paulicelli, professor of Italian, comparative literature and women’s studies at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where she is also co-director of the Graduate Center Fashion Studies Concentration, coedited “The Fabric of Cultures: Fashion, Identity and Globalization” (Routledge, 2008) and has hosted exhibits and conferences on the subject of how fashion and society interact. She said the new diversity of fashion designers reflects how cities develop all over the world through migration shifts and different communities forming and interacting with each other.
“In the beginning, the garment industry in New York was owned by Italian-Americans and Jewish immigrants,” Paulicelli said. “In the last decade in New York, we had a shift in that we have a lot of Asian-American designers and designers from all over the place, who were either born here or came to school here.”
The industry, led by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, welcomes the diversity, and judging by the roster of CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists over the past five years, supports it.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion