nyfw | global fashion collective


An off shoot of Vancouver Fashion Week, Global Fashion Collective was established in 2017 to increase international exposure for designers from around the world. As well as offering networking opportunities, GFC achieves this through collective catwalks at major fashion events, including Paris, Milan and Tokyo fashion weeks.

Run by a dynamic team with 23 years of experience in runway production and media relations, the collective gives emerging designers the chance to present their collections in a professional and high-profile setting – an opportunity many of them could otherwise only dream of. Last year alone, GFC showcased over 85 designers and, most recently, four brands at London Fashion Week and fourteen at New York Fashion Week.

Alex S. Yu

In New York, the collective took over the sizeable Chelsea Industrial venue in Manhattan to present labels from Canada (Alex S Yu, Eduardo Ramos, Stef Mouchie), China (Longshi), Japan (Baby, The Stars Shine Bright, Fair Enough, Sound of Ikebana), Spain (Lenifro), UAE/USA (UNUSUAL) and USA (Get Some Sleep, Rhea, Studio L7, R-Infection, YILLIAQ). The collections were not only diverse in terms of their country of origin, but in their concepts and target customer, ranging from the commercial to the most avant-garde of creations. Here are some of our highlights from the FROW.

Much like GFC, menswear brand [unusual] seeks to embrace “the diversity and richness of global cultures” by fusing influences from around the world, and producing garments that combine heritage and craftmanship with contemporary sensibilities. For this collection, [unusual] explored themes of war and migration in current times and how these can be perceived as a “physical cultural exchange”.

Longshi’s collection was steeped in Mongolian heritage, with handcrafted garments in decadent brocades and fine silks embroidered using ancient techniques. The designer Gao Yanlong visited 28 Mongolian tribes and intensely studied grassland culture to learn more about this heritage. The result was a collection with rich emerald, cobalt and scarlet hues, beads, turquoise and embroidered dragons (a symbol of protection), taking us back to a time when meticulous care and a mastery of artisanal crafts were valued above trends.  

Get Some Sleep posed the question, “Is it normal to think this much?” The theme of overthinking was interpreted in heavy intarsia knits, primary colours and gradients, which represented organised chaos, but also in slogans such as “It’s easy to believe that nothing works out for you…” or “But what if it’s wonderful?”.

Although most of the designers showing under the GFC platform could be considered emerging, some of them are well established in their home markets. Baby The Stars Shine Bright, with its decades-long history, is an institution in Japan. It’s been credited as being instrumental in creating the sub-culture of Lolita fashion and it certainly caused a stir when it hit the runway in New York. Legions of fans dressed to the max queued for hours to nab a seat, some of them flying in from abroad or even camping outside the venue overnight.

For its 36th annual collection, the brand went back to its roots by exploring its icon Usakumya-chan (bunny-bear mascot) in bouquet, heart and Alice in Wonderland-themed original prints. The heart motif itself has long been a core element of the brand logo and was repeated through the collection to express “the most profound gratitude”. Dresses dripping with decoration and intricate embroidery were designed to stay true to the label’s aim of producing ‘authentic’ Lolita fashion. Judging by the reaction of the fans at the show, it seems like they hit the mark.

Lenifro is an established brand in designer Helen López’s native Spain and neighbouring Portugal, where it is sold in 40 outlets. López, who studied at Central Saint Martins in London and has worked both there and in New York, is a huge fan of ‘80s fashion. Her colourful collections, always with a retro touch, are primarily produced using polyester recycled from plastic bottles. Hip-hop inspired the new collection, which featured vibrant prints, chains and tacks and faux leather, while the ‘panther’ garments in purple represented strength, energy and power.

Alex S. Yu presented whimsical childrenswear and womenswear in brightly coloured tulle and ruffles. He sees his customer as “eccentric, lively and nonchalant” at heart, but someone who still values functionality and comfort, i.e. an “everyday dreamer”. Hailing from Taiwan, Yu grew up in Vancouver and studied both there and at London College of Fashion. He’s presented 16 collections at Vancouver Fashion Week, and participated at events in Tokyo, London and New York.

As well as more commercial offerings, GFC provides a space for conceptual imaginations. Fair Enough chose its name to signify an ethos of fairness, both in terms of its efforts towards sustainability and its belief in meaningful dialogue. This was expressed through patchworks of differing shapes, colours and textures and a nod to nature with asymmetrical shapes and fringing.

Through her brand YILLIAQ, Yu Qian aims to “explore art as a powerful tool of spiritual healing with [a] focus on mental illness and disability issues”. This collection was inspired by the socially anxious: those who are “marginalised due to their unease in social communication”.  Because many of these people find solace in the company of animals, one creation symbolises a person being hugged by two cats. Another takes the form of a flower box, representing a safe place which mimics a sense of blending in and where both flowers and animals provide comfort.

Inclusivity is no doubt a key goal of GLC, and this is abundantly demonstrated in the astonishing array of talents and perspectives represented. If you’re hankering after a dose of the unexpected, you can catch the next editions of Global Fashion Collective at Milan Fashion Week on 24th February and at Paris Fashion Week on 1st March. Find out more here.

words. Huma Humayun

images. Courtesy of Global Fashion Collective


by /

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,