FADER NYFW, Spring 2014
Backstage at VFILES hung a sign that read: “Smize/ Have fun/ Don’t be too serious/ High energy.” This playful message isn’t what you’d expect to see at New York Fashion Week—a bi-yearly event where designers put forth their months of hard work along with hefty capital for a meticulous production that lasts a mere few moments– but that’s the point.
VFILES has been injecting much-needed creativity (and LOLz) into the industry with its alternative online fashion community, curated high-street store, and the industry-parodying video series “What the F*shion?”. The site, which only launched last year has challenged the face of fashion and its role in culture by offering unisex clothing, selling it as trends arise instead of seasonally, and bringing to light Internet fashion memes that—aside from outlier designers like Jeremy Scott– haven’t received the runway treatment. Their most move subversive move yet is giving four independent designers and VFILES users—selected solely on the basis of the GIFS, lookbooks and illustrations uploaded to their profiles—a stage at Fashion Week. Providing such an opportunity to unknowns on the strength of their online profiles isn’t just a conflation of URL and IRL, it’s a potentially pivotal moment in the ongoing democratization of fashion.
Despite the lighthearted vibes backstage, there wasn’t any goofing around come showtime, as Nicki Minaj’s straight-faced “Did It On Em” blared from speakers. Designers Sam MC, Ammerman Schlösberg, Steven Tai, and Gypsy Sport delivered complete and—true to their patron’s M.O.—transgressive visions. New trends included dominatrix, latex bow dresses courtesy of Schlösberg and long macramé veils and socks-with-rope sandals by Gypsy Sport. Those bold enough to try them, take heed to VFILES’ advice: “Smize/ Have fun.”