In addition to the main stages on 33rd Street, fashion shows took place all over New York showcasing independent designers. AMCONYC is a platform that brings together emerging millennial designers, allowing them to share their creations with top fashion insiders and influencers across the country. This year, AMCONYC brought UNKNOWN New York, Wear Your Label, Black Phumelele, Meagan Ollari, and other new designers together to send their latest looks down the catwalk in seven fashionable shows.
UNKNOWN New York, the brainchild of Nicco Lapus and Michael Yeung, rests under the Entree brand. Primarily men’s casualwear, UNKNOWN New York show featured models strutting down the runway in wearable hoodies, pants, and tops. Combining different worlds, UNKNOWN New York blends men’s and women’s styles in an effortless way. Signature pants with ribbing over the knees easily could be seen on 5th Avenue or down on the Lower East Side. Growing up, designer Nicco Lapus said he was a jock and while he had friends he more or less always felt unknown, and this served as the inspiration behind the line. UNKNOWN New York is designed for men who care about how they dressed, but dress for themselves rather than others and seeks to close the gap between high fashion and street wear.
BlackPhumelele is a women’s line from South African born designer Phumie who cites her colorful heritage as inspiration. Dresses in striking prints intermixed with simpler cocktail dresses made their way down the runway. “The inspiration behind the collection is the contrast of the woman’s soul, which is showcased in the different fabrics I used from silks to lace which captures the soft and feminine side,” says Phumie, “and then combining the hard textures and zippers grabs the strength and resilience of the women’s spirit.” The lace and zipper embellishments personified Phumie inspiration and added elegance and edginess to the collection.
The models in Meagan Ollari’s “Bollywood Babydoll” Spring/Summer 2016 collection sauntered down the runway in bold prints inspired by Ollari’s recent travels to India. Bright colors and eccentric motifs played a leading role in her collection. Ollari created her line with innovation and wearability in mind, saying I aim to be fresh, feminine, and sassy yet practical with my work and feel as though my best asset as a designer is the connection I have with my customers.” Feminine silhouettes brought the collection full circle with dresses perfect for sightseeing, outdoor brunches, and summer parties.
Wear Your Label created a different fashion experiences for viewers, bringing a new brand of positivity to the runway. Models of all shapes and sizes were clad in the collections threads that sported powerful messages about mental health. This is My Brave co-founder, Jennifer Marshall, performed a monologue, throughout the presentation, about the prevalence of mental health problems and the importance of understanding. Traditional models, actresses, and influencers took on the position of the “role models” during the show, each with their own connection to mental health. “Starting out, we knew we had to be cautious and continuously infuse our brand with positive reinforcements because mental health is such a controversial and stigmatized topic. But the support over the past year has been overwhelming, and people have shown they’re ready for more,” says Kayley Reed, one half of the design team behind Wear Your Label. Both Reed and partner, Kyle MacNevin, struggle with mental illness of their own and have found fashion to be a great outlet for their creativity. Each piece added to the cohesiveness of the collection and perfectly combined fashion and positivity, sharing a powerful message with everyone at the show.
Ivory Couture, Bound by the Crown Couture, and Jovan O’Connor also graced AMCONYC’s runways to wrap up their fashion week. AMCONYC’s Founder and CEO, Adriana Quaranto, chose emerging designers whom she sees at the future of fashion. “The goal and the DNA of AMCONYC is to nurture these emerging and independent designers by giving them the best possible platform to get recognized,” says Quantaro. “As a former designer myself, I can relate and understand every aspect and concern the designers have. That’s what sets us apart. We don’t believe in just providing a showcase, AMCONYC believes in working with these emerging and independent designers to build their brands.”
In addition to providing the platform and media outreach for the new designers, AMCONYC also partnered with StylingOn to bring their designers together with professional stylists. StylingOn works with each designer to help guide them through the process of styling their models, conceptualizing their looks, and help their visions come alive.
To check out more of the designers that AMCONYC works with, follow them on Instagram.