SPECIAL THANKS: THE IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT.
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If the kick off of New York Fashion Week Wednesday night was any indication of the week to come, brace yourself for one unpredictable ride. After a raucous pre-show atmosphere featuring everything from a woman wearing a rhinestone backless gown with a GoPro strapped to her head to a spontaneous dance-off on the runway between K Rizz and Cuba Gooding Jr., the VFILES presentation proved that pairing fashion with kindred artistic spirits truly has no limits.
Over the course of no more than three weeks, a team of industry insiders, including VFILES Founder Julie Anne Quay, Style.com Editor-In-Chief Dirk Standen, and design director of Calvin Klein menswear Italo Zucchelli, accepted submissions from the VFILES online community, reviewed entries, and selected four finalists to show during fashion week. The winners? New York-based designers Andrea Jiapei Li and Ximon Lee, Australian label DI$COUNT UNIVER$E, and Zurich’s Julia Seemann.
“It actually can be done in a week and that’s the whole point,” Quay explained with an air of determination when speaking about the incredibly short timeline. “The point is that everything is ridiculous. It takes so long, everyone has all these bullshit things they have to do, hoops they make people jump through. But there are none. Is it in or is it out? Can you do it or not?”
The first model to appear rode around the runway on a throwback razor scooter donning faded jeans with a tucked in blue t-shirt bearing one word in capitalized letters: “Bushwick.” In unique ways, each of the five collections that followed mimicked what the Brooklyn neighborhood and VFILES’ fashion have both come to represent—outlandish and expressive street wear not for the faint of heart.
First up was VFILES Sport Plus, an in-house designed line of affordable clothing that included zip-up denim parkas and matching shorts, pants, and a knit dress all emblazoned with labels reading “Do Not Touch.” Friends and family of the VFILES community, such as Vashtie, Santana Williams, Carlos Santolla, John Tuite, and our own photographer Charlie Himmelstein (who even took Polaroids while on the runway), modeled the collection, which became available to purchase online immediately after the presentation.
Next was Julia Seemann, who combined reduced geometric forms with simple fabrics like denim and cotton to create edgy, yet feminine looks. Crop tops were often paired with loosely fitting calf-length skirts or gaping pants, and every model wore a wide-brimmed hat or wraparound visor. Jiapei Li and Ximon Lee’s collections followed, each of which presented structured and geometric, but overwhelmingly oversized women- and menswear collections respectively.
DI$COUNT UNIVER$E stole the show with glittering garments that “put the POP back in fashion.” The Australian duo behind the brand—Cami James and Nadia Napreychikov—clearly have an eye for kitsch-meets-cool, showing brightly bejeweled garments and cheeky silhouettes, closing the show with a model who had a white and fluffy poodle in tow.
“Did the dog hit or miss?” Quay asked us after the show. It was definitely a hit.