Editors, buyers and designers alike wore their convictions on their sleeves in the first days of NYFW, from Anna Wintour's proudly displayed 'Fashion Stands With Planned Parenthood' button to Public School's 'Make America New York' baseball caps. Opinions seemed to be divided, however, with collections seemingly torn between themes of protection to pro-activism, with some designers opting to forget their troubles in a slew of party looks.
Jonathan Simkhai left tees baring 'Feminist AF' for the front row with a note explaining that he wanted to portray "women as a powerful force to be reckoned with," and that for every seat, $5 would be donated to Planned Parenthood. Similarly, Tome's Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin cited their inspiration as the Women's March on Washington this year as well as the Guerilla Girls, an all-female art collective. (You can already shop their fresh-off-the-runway accessories collaboration with TheDailyEdited here.)
Collections heavily featured oversized, padded looks that spoke to designer's desire for comfort and protection. Australian-American designer, Matthew Dolan, cited John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Bed Piece, explaining the importance of a sense of comfort at times of stress and uncertainty. His almost literal duvet cover coats and oversized silhouettes were echoed in the collections of Chromat and Public School.
Military references were in full force, seen in ammo-esque styling pieces at Dion Lee, a preponderance of camouflage at Gypsy Sport and the utility and khaki detailing across the board.
At Rachel Comey, trans-activist Justin Vivian Bond sang about fighting for the world you want to live in. Raf Simon's first collection for Calvin Klein included the gift of a white bandanna, which coupled with the hashtag #tiedtogether references an initiative of the Business of Fashion. The campaign, BoF founder Imran Ahmed described, is a way the industry can make a statement of, "solidarity, human unity and inclusiveness," in an industry where, he writes in the accompanying editor's letter, "visuals often speak louder than words."
The aforementioned Public School sent their politically-charged slogan caps to a remixed soundtrack of the American 'anthem', This Land Is Your Land while Christian Siriano's single t-shirt look in a sea of ball gowns simple stated, 'People are people'.
Similarly, Rio Uribe of Gypsy Sport, opened his show with a dedication to the, "people who live on the street and who just don't have much fashion in their life or any of the luxuries we take for granted."
Alexander Wang's offering, in its all-black, chain mailed, studded and rhinestoned collection belied a desire to party, despite the designer's own sweater declaring, 'No After Party'. And despite Gypsy Sport's clear military influence, looks were counterpointed with fluoro psychedelia and 90s influenced raver looks, as did Jeremy Scott whose homage to Elvis was more garish than galvanising.