Cynthia Rowley may have been in the fashion industry for a long time, but she’s never afraid to shake things up, especially if it means putting a smile on someone else’s face. In the wake of COVID-19, Rowley’s business is one of the seemingly few that has been booming — she noted having done better than ever in the last seven months in ready-to-wear and swim/surf with an expansion into homegoods and more cozy attire — but her purpose for the September season wasn’t solely new fashions.
Instead, Rowley shined a light on small businesses and captured the current state of New York City — socially distanced outdoor diners sitting at tables along Seventh Avenue, taxis speeding past and all — in an enthusiastic, inspiring film titled, “The Show Must Go On.” Shot along the West Village’s dining hot spots — Baby Brasa and Dante included — models clad in her latest designs danced through the streets among sidewalk diners to a live rendition of “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” performed by local group the East Village All Stars.
The film highlighted the collection’s 25 looks of the playful attire Rowley has become known for: an assortment of pretty dresses, new wetsuits, comfy but cool sporty sets (an adorable cropped navy sweatshirt and matching trouser), silk scarves, a debut of sneakers and more. “The show must go on,” a striped slogan shirt read. While Rowley has been working more direct-to-consumer for the past few seasons, the “spring” film’s rtw will be available within the month. Referring to it as the season of “now,” Rowley is moving forward with shortened delivery cycles, working three months ahead rather than the calendar’s six.
“I wanted to do something really in the moment, what’s relevant and happening in our lives and culture. Capturing this moment, right now…these restaurants, in some cases, thought they were going to be out of business and they scraped together whatever it took to build these outdoor spaces,” Rowley stated. “That’s what ‘New York Strong’ is. That’s what people did to survive and to create a cultural moment, lift our spirits and bring happiness to the city.”
“Here’s to all the small businesses and creatives that found a way to carry on,” the video closed.
WATCH: Inside Cynthia Rowley’s Spring 2021 Collection