For the 11th season of Williamsburg Fashion Weekend, a weekend dedicated to showcasing up and coming local designers that use eco-friendly and honest means to design their clothes, the ante was upped. I was asked to hop on board as creative director for the event, which was a role that I could not turn down. It was not only an opportunity to work with a team of dedicated designers, but it was also a chance to be a part of a movement that is attempting to infuse better morals into the mainstream fashion world. Williamsburg Fashion Weekend is more than a sort of anti-fashion week that exposes raw and boundary-pushing talent; it’s also a platform that exposes how do create fashion in a humane and moral manner. That is the whole idea behind the event, an event born from the mind of Brooklyn staple and artist, Arthur Arbit.
I also was editor-in-chief for the debut issue of the event’s magazine, which was handed out at the event and is available online in PDF form here.
Putting the magazine together in two weeks time was a challenge, but a challenge well worth it. The issue provided features about each designer that showed in the event, highlighting their inspirations and lives. We were also fortunate to get support from celebrities and local talent who rocked some of the designer gear in the editorials for the magazine. Rocker Andrew W K and his wife Cherie Lily, Black Keys Art Director and album art creator Michael Carney, celebrity hairdresser David Lopez among others participated.
The two-night event was, in essence, a very visually stimulating party. Some of the new designers really pushed the boundaries of the surreal, such as Uta Bekaia (above) who created a custom antler headpiece for the weekend (first photo, above). His performance full of feathers, strange structures and antlers was mind-blowing and the overall quality of performances and designs were better than ever.
“This was the best season so far for me personally as a designer and I think overall for the whole show. We had a support team handling the marketing for WFW which ultimately made the event better and bigger than ever,” said Nathalie Kraynina, whose all-black collection was as high fashion was it was edgy (above). “We received a lot more press coverage and as designer I was truly able to take my line to the next level. I am very proud of my new collection and very happy it was received well by the everyone that came out to support us. It was the 11th season of WFW but it’s only the beginning. I think the show will grow and we will ultimately get a bigger audience in the future.”
Each designer differs in their styles and their methods of going about their creative process. Mark Tauriello is known for his horror and sci-fi based designs (above) and for giving his female models power by making them “scary;” a contrast to the often submissive role women are given in fashion. “Personally I see my collections almost as self portraits that reflect my aesthetic, interests, and emotions during the collection making. So when you see the clothes you are almost seeing me,” he stated.
Stephanie Hinson told me about her birth line which is based on a sort of prairie farm on Mars. “The color palette began with the red winged black bird and was joined with colors of retro-futuristic landscapes. There is black, royal blue, violet, earth rose and chambray. I hand dyed the solid hemp/silk garments to add to the feeling of making use of what was available, as if I was on a new frontier.”
Melissa Lockwood uses Williamsburg Fashion Weekend as a way to make an environmental statement, using only salvaged fabrics. Pop artist Marco Santaniello expresses his politcal views through the event, by “sending easy messages using simple clothes and bright colors (above). [It] can make a difference.”
Currently the Williamsburg Fashion Weekend team is busy planning the next issue of the magazine which will we be holiday themed. The magazine will align with a pop-up shop to coincide with Black Friday, providing a shopping alternative where one can purchase from designers that have transparent business practices.
All photos by Bil Thompson