Six emerging designers from around the world journeyed to New York City to showcase their conceptual and practical sustainable collections. Young designers Alice Potts from England, Apoorva Gupta from India, Cen Si from Finland, Peiyang Zou, Chenhui Zhang, and Jiaren Du from China, clothed models in pieces that were as fashion-forward as they were earth-friendly.
Cen Si started off the show with fitted vests and wide-legged pants. The vests — adorned with neon yellow stripes at the breast — resembled city worker uniforms, but was contrasted by flow-y, geometric-printed trousers.
“With a heavy focus on print, design and color, I used a rich color palette in my collection to create a quirky, slightly athletic style inspired by my musical compositions,” Si said.
The ensemble overall was a bit outlandish, but the pieces individually were very modern. Si’s collection perfectly represented the eccentric urban style that fashionistas have come to love.
Next in the lineup was designer Jiaren Du, whose use of plastic within his garments stole the show.
“In this collection, “The Walking Art”, the construction is about putting the printed paper and solid texture between two layers of clear plastic, giving an effect which looks like using the garment to exhibit art,” Du said.
Du’s most memorable was his bright and splatter-designed trench coat. The knee-length jacket was colored with hues such as eggshell blue, cherry red, and crisp white. While the piece was very vibrant, the colors were offset by clear patches of plastic running along the sleeves, and throughout the bodice of the piece.
After Du, Peiyang Zou dazzled the audience with his layered ensembles. Long and loose maxi skirts were layered under airy collared shirts and structured capes featured in neutral colors like cream and brown.
“My concept is about ‘reconstruction,'” Zou said. “I have gathered and recycled horsehair, which is commonly used in tailoring pieces, and cotton gauze, which is fundamental to everyday care.”
While his collection spoke towards the current layering trend, his pieces closely resembled the garments worn by women in ancient China. The resemblance of his home country is apparent, but Zou gave the historical style a current update.
Apoorva Gupta was next, and we were taken away with Gupta’s breathtaking wrapped jumpsuits. Featuring wide-leg flowing trousers and a boat neck cape-inspired top, the ensemble was elevated with wrap detailing around the waist that accentuated the models’ abdomen. From the front, the ensemble looked like multiple pieces of a set. But behind, it was obvious that the outfit was sewn together as one.
“My collection reflects distinctive, fashion-forward clothes,” Gupta said. “My silhouettes are simple yet versatile and can be worn in multiple ways.”
Gupta’s pieces played with silhouettes, and it’s safe to say we are huge fans.
Next, Chenhui Zhang’s creations took on the runway. Her conceptual sportswear designs shocked the audience — in a good way. Models strutted down the runway in face-covering hoods accompanied by flowing pants and a button-up jacket covered in vertical black and white stripes.
“This season’s story is one of consumerism, emphasizing 1990s Chinese workwear with historical references of sportswear, tailoring, and vintage workwear,” Zhang said.
While the striped pattern somewhat resembled a prison uniform, the look differentiated itself through oversized cuffs on the sleeves and dramatic belting.
Last in the lineup was Alice Potts, and her designs were our personal favorite. Models graced the catwalk in interlocked jackets, tank tops, vests, and dresses. The technique — which Potts featured in saturated hues like pink, blue, and red — displays a feathered look which not only adds interest to the ensembles, but allows for a unique texture to be achieved.
“Each of my pieces are exactly the same squares interlocked in different material,” Potts said. “Each garment consists of 150-600 squares that can all be slotted together to create a whole garment.”
Potts’ pieces are perfect for elevating any modern-day look, and can easily be worn during work and play.