When New York Fashion Week rolled around last September, it faced huge questions about how it would function during a global pandemic. The fashion industry was dealing with multiple unforeseen challenges: halted production, closed stores, widespread job loss, consumers who were distracted by the news and hesitant or unable to spend money. Still, most brands found a way to present their collections without in-person shows, and the result was, in a way, the most democratic Fashion Week ever: Anyone could tune in from home.
This season, not much has changed. For the fall 2021 New York shows, which officially kick off Sunday, February 14, brands will stream virtual presentations ranging from traditional catwalks to mini-documentaries and kooky escapist shorts meant to be shared on social media. There’s also some depth in the mix, with discussions about racial equity, inclusion, and politics in fashion. Below, a list 15 things we’re excited for during another whirlwind pandemic fashion week.
This season, IMG launches “The Drops,” presenting daily limited-edition product drops throughout the week alongside digital content on NYFW.com. Brands participating include AARMY on Sunday, Jason Wu on Monday, Radarte x Virgil Normal on Tuesday, Prabal Gurung on Wednesday, and LaQuan Smith on Thursday.
Throughout the week, the Black in Fashion Council will host bicoastal discovery showrooms, providing emerging Black designers space to showcase their collections. It’ll be by appointment only, but there’s another way to tune into BIFC’s programming for Fashion Week. As a continuation of its partnership with IMG, Lindsay Peoples Wagner (the Cut’s incoming editor-in-chief) and Sandrine Charles will lead a series of three town halls introducing this season’s participating designers from their discovery showrooms.
The first town hall, with Tiffany Reid, VP of fashion at Bustle Digital Group, is on Wednesday, February 17, at 2:30 p.m. ET. The second, with Nikki Ogunnaike, digital director at Harper’s Bazaar, is on Wednesday, February 17, at 7 p.m. ET. The third, with Lindsay Peoples Wagner herself, is on Thursday, February 18, at 3 p.m. ET. Watch them all here.
At 1:30 p.m. ET, cool French-Japanese brand Maison Kitsuné will digitally present a collection for the first time ever at NYFW here, followed by an afternoon set by model and DJ Mona Matsuoka. Tune in if you desperately miss fashion parties.
At 6 p.m. ET, indie brand Imitation of Christ, which has returned with an innovative new structure, will digitally present its fall 2021 collection here. The RealReal will sell the entire collection exclusively on their site.
At 8:30 p.m. ET, chic fashion girl brand Monse will digitally present its fall 2021 collection here.
At 9:30 a.m. ET, Private Policy will digitally present a fall 2021 collection inspired by 19th-century Chinese transcontinental railroad workers, while raising awareness about the ongoing racism and prejudice against Asian immigrants, especially during COVID-19. Watch here.
At 10 a.m. ET, Markarian designer Alexandra O’Neill – who created Jill Biden’s inauguration outfit – and designer Sergio Hudson – who dressed Michelle Obama – will have a conversation with journalist Tamron Hall about the biggest style moments from Inauguration Day 2021. Watch here.
At 3 p.m. ET, the first recipient of Kanye West’s fashion incubator grant for emerging designers, Maisie Wilen, will digitally present a fall 2021 collection here.
At 1:30 p.m. ET, Sandy Liang will digitally present her fall 2021 collection here. “I think it’s about a marriage between what I really wear, and what I wish I could wear,” she said in a statement. “I think about what my mom wore when I was growing up, and how I couldn’t understand why she always went back to her staples: shearling-lined mules, unflattering corduroy pants, and her puffer vests. When I look at my closet today, I have to admit I often go back to the same things.”
Photo: Courtesy of Sandy Liang
At 3 p.m. ET, Los Angeles–based brand No Sesso, Italian for “no sex/no gender,” will digitally present its fall 2021 collection here. The brand has earned a following for using fashion to uplift marginalized people.
At 11:30 a.m. ET, Collina Strada will digitally present its fall 2021 collection here and on Instagram. Judging by the Animorphs-inspired invitation, it’ll probably be wonderfully trippy like last season.
Photo: Courtesy of Collina Strada
At 7 p.m. ET, American fashion powerhouse and CFDA president Tom Ford will digitally present his fall 2021 collection.
At 11 a.m. ET, on-and-off NYFW fixture Proenza Schouler will digitally present a fall 2021 collection here.
At 12 p.m. ET, Gabriela Hearst will wrap things up. Hearst is coming off a big year: In 2020, she won Womenswear Designer of the Year at the CFDA awards and was named creative director of Chloe, and she designed Jill Biden’s inauguration night white coat.