Hardly anything about the New York Fashion Week schedule looks like it did a year ago. For starters, the fall 2021 season kicks off this Sunday—about a week later than usual—not with a show, but with a virtual boot camp class hosted by AARMY. Dozens of presentations and events follow in the next five days, most of which are happening virtually, and many of the week’s biggest names—Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, and Tory Burch among them—are missing.
All to say, it’s a far cry from what we were doing last February: criss-crossing Manhattan and Brooklyn for back-to-back shows, cramming onto tiny benches, and generally being surrounded by people all day, every day. (Experiencing fashion week alone is an entirely different experience!) But some things haven’t changed: New York is still the place to discover new, on-the-rise designers, whether they’re based in New York or not.
A cursory glance at the NYFW lineup reveals many names we’ve never seen before, including the designers we’re spotlighting here. Taken together, their work tells a story about where fashion is (hopefully) headed: to a more sustainable, gender-fluid, socially conscious place. The diversity of their aesthetics—sporty, crafty, elegant—also reflects New York’s open-minded, something-for-everyone spirit. Meet six designers on our radar below, and discover even more BIPOC talents in the Black in Fashion Council’s showroom.
Queens native Colin LoCasio isn’t yet 30, but he already has an impressive resume: After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, he worked as an embroidery designer for Marc Jacobs, where celebrity stylists noticed his work and began commissioning him for special looks (including for Cardi B and Bella Hadid). LoCasio is now the design director for Kendall + Kylie, the Jenner sisters’ contemporary label, but he found time to launch a label of his own in 2020. Influenced by pop culture and a passion for textiles, LoCasio’s first collections have been bright and audacious, with lots of printed mesh, sequined robes, and rainbow faux furs. As a child of the ’90s and early ’00s, he leans into his earliest memories of TV and movies, knowing many of his clients have a similar fondness for Lizzie McGuire and the Power Rangers. His new fall 2021 collection will stream live at nyfw.com on Wednesday, February 17th at 11:00 a.m. EST.