9 Things to Look Forward to this New York Fashion Week

From a new law protecting underage models to the the longer commutes to shows across the city, we’ve compiled a list of the biggest talking points of the season

Photographer Alex Wesh
February 04, 2014

Maybe it’s because there were no major shake ups last New York Fashion Week or that, save for a few exceptions, the clothes were relatively innocuous, but it already feels like there will be a lot more to talk about this season when NYFW kicks off on Thursday. From a new law protecting underage models to the the longer commutes to shows across the city—thanks to the shift away from Lincoln Center, which had been the hub for shows over the past year—we’ve compiled a list of nine things to look forward to this NYFW.

Celebrity Sightings

Since runway shows mostly exist to create emotion around a collection through ambience and context, celebrities serve an important function during fashion week. Also it’s just fun to see what celebs engage with which brands and ogle at what they wear. Last year Kanye wore a Metallica tee to Alexander Wang and sat front row at Hood By Air. Where will he show up this year? Considering its January, which of his furs will he wear? Will Miley show up? Given that she’s the current face of Marc Jacobs’ campaign, will she walk in his show like her tourmate Sky Ferreira did?

Marc Jacobs' First Show Since Leaving Louis Vuitton

Unexpectedly last season, Marc Jacobs announced that he was leaving his post as creative director at Louis Vuitton to focus on his namesake brand and its impending IPO. This season marks the first since 1997 that the designer has been able to give his full attention to his line, so it will be interesting to see how it will differ from previous collections. How will he one-up last year’s dilapidated Victorian boardwalk setting? What legendary singer will he reference this time? (At his last show for Louis Vuitton, it was Cher.) How many people will arrive at his show reeking of his Daisy perfume, which can be purchased at a NYFW pop-up with a Tweet?

Alexander Wang Moves His Show to Brooklyn

Since announcing he was taking his show to the Duggal Greenhouse in the Brooklyn Navy Yard Brooklyn, Alexander Wang has been met with annoyance, confusion, and questions: “How will this move impact the schedule? Whose shows will we have to miss before and after to go?” How many people will complain about it? Actually enough so that when Wang sent out his invitations, he amazingly included driving instructions and a promo code for 30 percent off Uber. As for the show itself, we have our own questions. Will logomania still be a theme? Aside from microscopic laser-cutting, what other tech tricks does he have up his sleeve? Which guests will the livestream camera dangle over the most? (Last year it was Solange, Miguel and Kanye.) And who could top Nicki Minaj performing at last year's after-party?

NYFW Music

One NYFW trend that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon is designers tapping musicians for their shows, soundtracks and runway. Last season brought out a performance from Janelle Monáe at Rebecca Minkoff and modeling stints by Sky Ferreira in Marc Jacobs and A$AP Rocky in Hood By Air. Who will perform this year? Which musicians will walk the runway?

Runway Diversity

Last year, the Diversity Coalition, run by fashion activist Bethann Hardison, challenged the industry to diversify its runways by publicly calling out designers who’ve historically casted mostly white models. The Coalition also sent out letters to the CFDA, British Fashion Council, the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana in Milan and the Fédération Française de la Couture du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers and Créateurs de Mode in Paris urging them to intervene. The result, according to Jezebel, was a measly 2.72 decrease in percentage of white models. In the wake of last NYFW and Barney New York’s racial profiling though, it appears that designers are reacting positively with more inclusive campaigns. Givenchy tapped Erykah Badu as its new face, after showing an Afrocentric collection for spring, and even Barneys has made strides with their campaign, featuring a diverse group of 17 transgender models. So will designers follow suit this season? Will the Diversity Coalition’s impact last season extend to this one? Will someone other than Rick Owens please come up with an awe-inspiring show that’s both a critique of the industry’s lack of diversity and beauty ideals?

Un-Pretty Collections

Rick Owens was also joined by Marc Jacobs and Prada last season in sending out a defiantly un-pretty collection. Provokingly, Marc Jacobs even used top tier models while concealing their beauty with jagged elfish hair and earthy makeup. His models wore frumpy Victorian-inspired jackets with football shoulders and boots that unflatteringly hit at the mid calves. Many other like-minded designers sent out re-imagined Teva and Birkenstocks, opting for comfort over beauty. Who will send out the fugliest collection this season? Are Crocs primed for a fashionable update?

Emerging Designers

One of the most exciting aspects of NYFW is being able to watch when emerging designers get their breakthroughs. This year, there are a bevy of up-and-comers making their runway debuts: former Kanye collaborator/ Australian designer Dion Lee, Miley Cyrus-approved Maria Ke Fisherman and FADER favorites Highland and Harbison.

Opening Ceremony

It’s going to pretty hard for Opening Ceremony to top last year’s show where models were arrived on the runway in high end cars, cronuts were passed out in the gift bags, and Rihanna showed up with a mullet. Will they go even bigger this year? Or will they keep it low key so people can actually focus on the, you know, clothes?

New Model Laws

One of fashion’s lesser-talked about dark sides is the horrendous treatment of models, especially during fashion week. This season, a new law will protect those models under the age of 18, giving them the same status as child actors. They will no longer be able to be paid with clothing, they won’t be subjected to the intensive hours required for fittings-- now they’ll have a required 12-hour rest period between jobs-- and designers will have to fill out a mountain of paperwork. Designers who don’t abide by the new regulations will be subject to fines. Will all of these hurdles be enough to dissuade designers from hiring underage models altogether? Wouldn’t it be better for underage models and the industry to only use models over the age of 18 during fashion week? Shouldn’t clothing geared towards people over the age of 18 be modeled by non-teenagers? Wouldn’t beauty ideals also become more realistic?

9 Things to Look Forward to this New York Fashion Week