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Now in their second season, Area designers Piotrek Panszczyk and Beckett Fogg met while attending Parsons School of Design together. They categorize their work as aspirational. “We love researching American subcultures that deal with aspiration in different ways, like sororities,” says Fogg. “This season is all about hardcore femininity and different ways it can be played out or interpreted. Whether it’s hardcore, fem, drag, or traditional … they are all aspirational.” Their brand of retro-fabulous, hazy disco-era garments has caught the eye of all major editors, making them definitely ones to watch.
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“My brand is about youth and my generation,” says Anna Karenina about her namesake line, Anna K. That definitely makes sense given that Karenina is 20 years old, has been designing since she was 16, and already sells at places like Colette in Paris and the online shopping emporium Luisa Via Roma. The London-based wunderkind will be showing in New York City for the first time on Monday. Expect to spot a sea of equally cool kids in the front row. “I feel a responsibility toward those who love to wear my clothes,” she tells Yahoo Style. “To be funny and cool, to be innocent and brave, to adore fashion and everything about fashion. That is how I see the ideal Anna K girl. It is a mix of Alice in Wonderland and Pippi Longstocking.”
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Robert Childs has been ready to create his own line since he started working in fashion. An alum of Thom Browne and Adam Kimmel, he says that his penchant for timeless design stems from being raised by his mother, an artist, and his father, a builder. “I’ve always believed that something can be beautiful on the surface, but without a deeper consideration and exploration, whether it’s a jacket or a building, it’s not going to have the richness and value that will make it timeless,” he tells Yahoo Style. The look above is from Childs’s debut fall-winter 2016 collection (shown on Tuesday) and has already won hurrahs from the fashion crowd.
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Designer Lena Wells’s reasoning for establishing her own line was as good as any: “We felt there was a void in the marketplace for women seeking designer-quality clothing, without being overly trendy, and still at an accessible price,” she says. Yes, please! She earned her stripes at Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan, and Calvin Klein, so we’re inclined to buy what she is selling. “I try to let the richness of material do the talking,” Wells tells Yahoo Style. “I’m a bit of a fabric nerd and enjoy that part of the process very much. The balance of textures is what excites me and creates newness.”
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The Canadian-born sister act of Chloé and Parris Gordon named their label after the French word for “handsome girl,” as an homage to their relaxed tomboy aesthetic. Established in 2013, Beaufille took home the Best Emerging Designer prize at the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards last spring (the equivalent of the CFDAs in the States). After showing in Toronto for a few seasons, the siblings will for the first time stage a show during New York Fashion Week. “We have always had breaking into the international market at the forefront of our brand strategy, so forging some key connections in New York and Europe has definitely helped move things along for Beaufille,” says Chloé.
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“I believe in making clothes that make people happy,” says Sandy Liang about her eponymous line. In a short amount of time, she has made in-the-know types like stylist Kate Foley and model Hanneli Mustaparta very happy with her skater-chic-meets-Chinatown-grandma aesthetic. Her clothes are decidedly downtown, effortless hip, which means you can expect to see more fashionistas wearing them soon. Liang will be showing for the first time this New York Fashion Week, a fact that is not lost on the designer. “I like naming each piece so that while we’re working on the collection, every jacket or dress has a soul and we can refer to it like a person,” she says.
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Though this will be her first NYFW outing under her new label, Michelle Helene is no novice. She was the head designer at R&D Surplus, which oversees contemporary labels like Joe’s Jeans and American Vintage. “For the first 15 years of my career, I designed for other lines, but I always wanted to have my own line and do something that was meaningful,” she tells Yahoo Style. “Once my brother started weaving and crocheting, I got excited about collaborating with him and knew we could create something special and beautiful, using old, traditional techniques.”
New York Fashion Week is upon us, and while the style world is always keen to see what the esteemed one-named wonders (Marc! Oscar! Carolina!) are up to, it is also important to consider the new guard. This season there is a bevy of newcomers with serious pedigree showing for the first time. If you want to be in the know this NYFW, then you’ll study this list. They are the future of fashion in NYC.