VFiles is no stranger to holding a fashion show that’s more than a fashion show, but in the past, the event has usually been held in traditional New York Fashion Week venues that only accommodate celebrities, influencers and people who work in the industry.
Julie Anne Quay, founder of VFiles, wanted to change that this season by holding the show on the main level of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and releasing free tickets to the general public via Eventbrite.
“I’m Australian and I remember seeing fashion shows in the mall and anyone could watch it. When I came to New York I couldn’t believe how locked away fashion shows were,” Quay said. “At VFiles, our mission is to connect and empower the youth, so it made logical sense for us to open the doors so that everyone can experience the event.”
VFiles has shown at the Barclays Center before, but in a smaller section on the lower level. This show, which takes place at 8 p.m. Sept. 5, will be sponsored by Sprite. Earlier this year, VFiles scrapped the runway format all together and partnered with Adidas Originals to create an immersive experience. VFiles will return to a runway show and highlight the global runway winners including Windowsen, a unisex brand from Belgium designed by Sensen Lii; Elena Velez, a recent Parsons graduate; Marrknull, a Beijing-based women’s wear brand founded by Wei Wang and Tim Shi, and Shuting Qiu, an eponymous women’s wear brand founded in Belgium. They’ve been mentored by Quay, Dapper Dan, Laura Brown, Rio Uribe, Candy Pratts Price, Anna Trevelyan, Erin Magee, Paul Cupo and James Costas-Michael.
The show will open with a five-minute film by Hidji Films, and feature live performances from members of the VFiles community, music provided by A-Trak and a pop-up that will be open from Sept. 4 to 6 at the Featured on Flatbush space within the Barclays Center. It will sell pieces from Fool’s Gold, the VFiles collection and other to be announced brands.
The event will also mark the debut of VFiles Yellow Label, a ready-to-wear collection that’s designed by Paul Cupo, the former creative director of Hood By Air. The collection will include 20 to 30 looks that Quay hopes to wholesale at specialty stores and sit alongside brands such as Off-White and Alyx.
“When we started VFiles, streetwear was a dirty word and they looked down on what we are doing,” said Quay, who also noted that VFiles will open a Los Angeles store this year. “Now you look at shows in Paris and it’s streetwear derived and they are paying money to have hip-hop artists at the shows. This is who we are and this is what we stand for so why not step into the ring.”
For Quay, the fashion show is still an important platform, but designers have to decide what they want it to be.
“For VFiles, we aren’t looking at the show as a place where buyers or editors can pick or order looks from the runway. We will have a presentation of the Yellow label afterward for that,” Quay said. “But as a designer you have to choose which way you want to go. You can either put on a show and create hype or have a show that’s straight business. You have to choose. You can’t fit in the middle or you will be lost.”