This month’s Fashion Week, during which designers presented their Spring/Summer 2016 collections, held from September 10 – 17, marked the first time in five years that the shows were not sponsored by Mercedes Benz, or held at Lincoln Center, the main venue for the tents since they decamped from Bryant Park in 2010. The two main locations for the SS16 shows were Skylight at Moynihan Station in Midtown and Skylight Clarkson Square in SoHo. Other spots were Milk Studios, 23 Wall Street and landmark buildings like the Plaza Hotel. The move from Lincoln Center came about before WME/IMG’s (Fashion Week’s owners) contract was up at the famed Upper West Side ballet and opera home base, but was necessitated over complaints about destruction to the landscaping and trees from local neighborhood groups and conservationists.
Security at the gates to the shows is always maximum, with men in black suits talking into their collars, extra NYPD, and clip board and iPad toting young women checking names and giving approval for backstage access. SUVs with black windows roll up to deposit celebs, VIPs and some of the world’s wealthiest shoppers, women and men who travel between the cities that host Fashion Week on private jets and text their orders immediately after seeing a look on the runway. Lesser mortals are relegated to wait in herds and packs, crammed together as they snap selfies and each other in the holding pens, posting to Instagram their exalted position in line for a show. No ticket, no show for you, which is made clear to potential gate crashers with a sniff and a whip of a blow out perfected ponytail.
During a conversation last year at the 92nd Street Y with Fern Mallis, famed street photographer Bill Cunningham, who has documented the shows worldwide for years, and was depicted in the 2011 documentary “Bill Cunningham New York”, commented on the cult of celebrity that Fashion Week has devolved into, focusing more on the exploits of reality tv stars and their mating habits, rather than the designers and their work. The media and the fashion bloggers seem more concerned with what little North West was wearing in the front row at her daddy Kanye’s fashion show and how many colors Kylie Jenner’s hair was in one day.
SkrapperStyle, the brainchild of famed US contemporary artist William Quigley, is a clothing company that blurs the lines between fashion and art with a line of luxe tees, hoodies, sweatshirts and mini dresses emblazoned with Quigley’s recognizable art and snappy sayings. Quigley is a prolific artist whose paintings of the famous, the infamous and the iconic are in the collections of many renowned art connoisseurs, including Former President Bill Clinton, Kevin Spacey, Shaquille O’Neal, Woody Allen, Michael Jordan, Donald Trump, Graydon Carter and more. Many of the artist’s most recognizable portraits are featured on SkrapperStyle clothes, fashionable items like form fitting hoodies, A-line mini dresses and soft as silk tees.
SkrapperStyle teamed up with 1177, the Italian sock company, to present an outdoor runway show in true democratic style during Fashion Week, walking models down an impromptu runway on the Highline above the Hudson Yards at 30th Street on Thursday, September 17th. Guests in attendance were anybody who happened to be ambling by when the DJ/actress/Producer Angelica Morrow began playing her curated set of tunes on a hot pink boom box. No one was turned away, and seating was available on a first come first served basis.
The guerrilla nature of the show was in line with artists like Banksy and Mr. Brainwash, even recalling the early days of graffiti as public art gallery, when artists like Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat and Futura 2000 created masterpieces on any available surface in a pre-Giuliani New York City. The hit it and dash under cloak of night spirit of graffiti was very much the vibe at the SkrapperStyle show, as Morrow’s tunes did a duet with the sounds of the massive construction site just under the runway, and the models walked the Highline as photographers of every caliber created a M.A.S.H.-style photo pool. Tourists, locals, friends of Quigley and Morrow and the media all formed the audience for the fashion show as the sun set over New Jersey as a backdrop.
SkrapperStyle honors wounded veterans and raises awareness for the battles they combat upon returning home. A portion of SkrapperStyle sales go to the American Patriot Support Foundation, Survivability Services International, and Soldier Ride, as well as Wounded Warrior Project. Founded by Troy McCleery and Josh Krueger, a former U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant who lost an eye in an IED explosion in Iraq, the APSF aims to give combat veterans a family who share the same ideals, bridge the divide between the civilian and military vets, assist with PTSD issues, decrease the suicide rate among veterans, and promote overall mental and physical fitness through non clinical initiatives.
Soldier Ride is a unique four-day cycling opportunity for wounded service members and veterans to use cycling and the bonds of service to overcome physical, mental, or emotional wounds. The rides are exhilarating and a great way to help warriors regain confidence. The mission of Survivability Services is to increase the survivability profile of military personnel, law enforcement officers, and private clients in All-Hazard Risks, both natural and man-made, through the manufacture and supply of equipment, tools and accessories, by strategic assessment, preparedness planning, and tactical training.
Brothers Clayton and Parker Calvert recently joined the Skrapper team when they exhibited with Quigley in his annual East Hampton Studio Show. Parker, an artist and producer, worked with Quigley to create the new designs for the SkrapperStyle and 1177 Pop Up Fashion Show on the Highline. Clayton, an artist and curator, co-produced the Pop Up show with producer/DJ Angelica Morrow, Quigley, and Parker. Guests included NY runway model Gia Genevieve, who has graced the covers of Playboy, Kit and Galore Magazine as well as Sassy Bermudez, who is featured on Black Ink Crew on VH1 and Holly Zuelle of Modeltainment Agency INC. Runway models included Madeline Burns, Myles Brawer, Carson Hiner, Zorana Mitic, Holly Zuelle, Sara Balint and Byron Walker. Photographers Neil Tandy and Guy Merin documented the show. New Skrapper designs were on display featuring numerous icons Quigley has painted. After the show wrapped, the party moved downtown to Le Bain, the nightclub on the rooftop of the Highline straddling Standard Hotel.