What six New York fashion designers listen to while creating their collections

Published February 6, 2018

PHOTO COLLAGE BY CLARISSA DAVIS.

Every year designers showing at New York Fashion Week start to resemble college students pulling all-nighters as they study for their finals. Empty coffee cups and crumpled-up sketches litter their work tables as they power through late night hours driven by the sounds of SZA, Bob Marley and Khalid. At least, that’s the case for Shaikha Noor Al Khalifa and Shaikha Haya Al Khalifa of Noon by Noor, Han Wen, Sally LaPointe, Wei Lin and Mijia Zhang of Ph5, Feng Chen Wang, and Claudia Li.

Sally LaPointe is powered by Lady Gaga’s “Beautiful, Dirty, Rich,” which is no surprise based on her luxurious fabric choices, while Han Wen cuts pieces that turn conventional womenswear silhouettes on their heads while listening to Frank Ocean—an artist who has his own unique approach to R&B music. They work around the clock to transform fabric into innovative pieces that will impress both the seasoned editors and the Instagram generation who zoom in and out of event spaces in downtown Manhattan.

As NYFW kicks off, we asked designers from six New York-based brands what their favorite songs are to blast in the studio as they prepare their collections for the biggest week in fashion.

Listen to this playlist on Spotify:

NOON BY NOOR’S SHAIKHA NOOR AL KHALIFA AND SHAIKHA HAYA AL KHALIFA

“Formation” by Beyoncé

This is a very empowering song and as women it keeps us motivated. Listening to it while we work makes the whole process exciting.

“Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys.

We love New York and this song keeps us inspired.

“Location” by Khalid

We love R&B/Soul and this song is very calming and relaxing during hectic times at the studio.

HAN WEN

“Pink+White” by Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean is my favorite singer and I have always admired his ways of storytelling in his lyrics. It’s a pleasure to listen to his love songs with beautiful melodies and beats.

“20 Something” by SZA

SZA’s album Ctrl is definitely one of my most played and favorite albums of 2017. I feel especially comfortable when I listen to this song. “Ain’t got nothing / Running from love, but hoping my 20 something won’t end.”

“Stoop So Low” by Alextbh

Alextbh is an artist I found listening to the radio on a boat to a scuba diving spot. When I listen to this song during work, it reminds me of vacation time and helps me relax.

SALLY LAPOINTE

“Man Down” by Rihanna

Because I love a bad bitch.

“Beautiful, Dirty, Rich” by Lady Gaga

This is such a throwback and it reminds me of being careless in my twenties.

“Sorry” by Beyoncé

Middle fingers up! I love the lyrics.

PH5’S WEI LIN AND MIJIA ZHANG

“Casablanca” by Bertie Higgins

I like listening to ’80s nostalgia music when I try to draw out my ideas. My favorite lyric is: “I fell in love with you watching Casablanca / Back row of the drive-in show in the flickering light.”

“Careless Whisper” by George Michael

I enjoy the dance flow of this song, and the saxophone in the background!

“Without You” by Harry Nilsson

A strong woman seeking a strong love in this one.

FENG CHEN WANG

“In the Year 2525” by Visage (cover of 1969 hit song by American pop-rock duo Zager and Evans)

Imagine using a time machine to travel from the ‘60s to the future and see all things never seen before. The song was featured in the finale of my AW17 show.

“Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” by Pink Floyd (the most played song on my LP record player)

I listen to this song when I’m in an emotional mood or when I’m working on my designs. I feel really close to all hearts that matter.

“Lemonade” by CocoRosie

It is music, a film, a story … Every single detail is normal but seems not normal.

CLAUDIA LI

“The Seamstress (Tooting Masala)” by Loyle Carner

This is on my Best of 2017 playlist. The combination of the beat, the melody and his voice calms me down. Usually I play this toward the end of the day.

“Waiting in Vain” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

One of my favorite songs ever! I can listen to this on repeat for hours. Bob Marley keeps me company during the commute home from a busy day of work.

“On & On” by Erykah Badu

I’ve been listening to her sing since I was like 10 years old. Listening to her always brings back great memories of growing up in New Zealand.

 

NEW YORK FASHION WEEK RUNS UNTIL WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2018.