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New York Fashion Week Spring 2024: 5 Emerging Designers to Know Now

Collage by Ashley Peña

The spring 2024 season of New York Fashion Week kicks off on Thursday, September 7th with Coach celebrating creative director Stuart Vevers’s 10-year anniversary and ends on the 13th with another finale courtesy of Luar. In between, though, the roster is filled with dozens of shows, including some career-defining moments (Peter Do’s debut collection for Helmut Lang) and a handful of brands set to make their mark for the first time. A few names, like Diotima and Grace Ling, may ring familiar, while other labels like Chan Chit Lo and Sho Konishi are more indie, but just as promising. Below, familiarize yourself with five of the new brands before they take on NYFW for the first time.

Chan Chit Lo

In 2017, Venus Lo traveled back to her native Hong Kong following the untimely passing of her father in order to sort through his things and clean out his house. It was during this emotionally fueled moment that Lo discovered the newspapers, cassette tapes, and miscellaneous items her father had been stashing for years. The discovery invoked inspiration—and Lo’s Parsons MFA graduate collection, titled “Hoarders,” was born. “Hoarding is not just about the stuff, it’s about collecting memories,” the designer tells W. Comprised of denim pieces and sweatshirts she collected from New York factories, the deconstructed, streetwear-inspired collection introduced her aesthetic to an audience for the first time. It also solidified the ethos of her brand, named Chan Chit Lo after her Chinese name. The phrase, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” lives on throughout each of her collections. “This idea is core to my DNA,” she says. “Every season, I approach factories in New York and China to see if they can donate unwanted pieces or dead stock fabric. I make use of this material to create new life.”

While Lo remains loyal to the ideas presented in that first collection, she has also expanded on the aesthetic. Now, a more tangible brand signature comes in the form of a crocheted flower, introduced last season, and promised to return and expand for spring 2024. This time around, the inspiration for the collection comes from another family member: her seven-month-old son, Lucas. “I want the clothes to tell the story of new parenthood,” says Lo, who will celebrate her first CFDA-sanctioned presentation with a performance that showcases her journey through motherhood and invokes memories of the audience members’s own parents. To Lo, fashion isn’t about luxury, but telling a story. “My collection is really about the people who surround my daily life, and a lot of them are working people,” she adds. And she wants her presentation to play with all of those ideas. “It’s like a museum or gallery that everyone can access.”

Grace Ling

Debuting at NYFW is a big moment for any small brand, but Grace Ling is no stranger to big moments. Since launching her eponymous line in August 2020, the designer has dressed everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Karlie Kloss, and even had a design featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of the Costume Institute’s 2021 exhibition, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion. Even before all of that, however, she built up quite the résumé, graduating from Central Saint Martins and Parsons School of Design before going on to work for Thom Browne and The Row. And in what seems like another life at this point, Ling originally started off as fine artist, working with scuplting and 3-D printing—skills she now uses to enhance her collections. Grace Ling has become known for its sleek designs, simple color palette, unexpected cutouts, and 3D-printed chrome details. “It’s a sense of eccentric elegance and it’s a balance between formality and sensuality,” Ling tells W of her brand’s aesthetic. It makes sense, then, that her pieces have become hot commodities for the “It” girls of the age, like Charli XCX and Emma Chamberlain. “I have concluded that everybody just wants to be sexy,” she says. “But I do pride myself in doing sexy in a very sophisticated way. It’s not just about showing skin and wearing very little, it’s about the way the body’s being concealed or revealed.”

If you’ve seen any of Ling’s designs, it’s likely been her popular “Butt Bag.” Ling feels the piece encapsulates the brand as a whole, describing its “witty spirit and sophistication,” words she also uses to define her customer, who she adds, “is constantly in dialogue with world events and art.” Ling, herself, is inspired by culture—artists like René Magritte and directors like Stanley Kubrick and Wes Anderson—though the latter’s pale color palette lives in contrast to Ling’s blacks, whites, and grays. Ling balances out this artistic mindset with undeniable business acumen. She speaks assuredly of her plans to expand the brand, which currently boasts just five employees. “At the end of the day, fashion is business,” she says. “I want to be a good boss and have a good team. It’s not about the fancy, the fame, or whatever.” Though surely, the famous clients help.

Courtesy of Grace Ling
The 3D-printed “Butt Bag.”

Zankov

Courtesy of Zankov/Ivan Bideac
A look from Zankov fall/winter 2023.

Henry Zankov was studying fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in the early ‘00s when he realized he had a knack for knitwear. It was one of those kismet realizations, when your skills align with your interests. “I really enjoyed this idea of creating something from nothing,” Zankov says. “You take a thread or yarn, and you can create different kinds of stitches, textiles, patterns, and jacquards.” But don’t expect to find the traditional knitwear tropes in Zankov’s work. “I like knitwear that doesn’t look like knitwear, if that makes any sense,” he adds. And it does, especially when faced with his work—bright column dresses with brush-like strokes across the bodice, open knit sweaters showing off the body like never before. “I like that you cannot really tell what it is right away.”

Courtesy of Zankov/Ivan Bideac
A look from Zankov fall/winter 2023.

Zankov describes his eponymous brand as “a dialogue between color, graphic patterns, and the body,” while still living under the knitwear umbrella. During Fashion Week, Zankov will present as part of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, sharing his latest collection, “Lighten Up,” an exploration of seduction through color. “The colors are more saturated and they have a luminescent quality to them,” he says. “It’s very important for me for things to feel light, but still have substance.” The spring 2023 collection was inspired by French author Annie Ernaux, whom the designer is currently reading. “I’ve been thinking so much about seduction, and about her, and how she’s moved through life.” Seduction, lightness, and luminescence aren’t necessarily words one would associate with knitwear, which is kind of the point for Zankov. “For me, it is really about pushing the envelope and doing something unexpected: turning knitwear on its head.”

Diotima

Diotima’s collections may be filled with skin-baring tops and dresses just begging to have their moment during golden hour on a beach vacation—but don’t call this brand resortwear. “I always find that hilarious,” Rachel Scott, the brand’s founder and creative director, says of the false equivalency. “I think it’s just because I’m Jamaican and I make crochet, but there’s a lot of tailoring, there’s a lot of wool.” Indeed, the more you look through Scott’s work at Diotima, the more the story of the brand evolves. The heart of Diotima absolutely lies in the crochet work; the ruffled dresses and tops seem to organically grow around the wearer’s bodice like moss on a tree. But other pieces live in contrast to the crochet (see: a beautifully tailored wool suit and a pleated skirt). The real magic appears when Scott combines these two aesthetics, and decorates a button-down with those ruffled layers of crochet, or completes an understated gray long-sleeve dress with an eyelet collar.

Courtesy of Diotima
A look from Diotima pre-fall 2023.

For Scott, Diotima is all about collaboration and her own roots. She turns to women in her native Jamaica for the collection’s crochet work, a practice that has not ceased as the brand continues to grow. “A dream for me is to expand on what Caribbean culture is, and bring it towards the future and give it its own autonomy.” When Scott was chosen as a semi-finalist (and later finalist) for this year’s LVMH Prize, she was the first to represent Jamaica ever in the competition. A chance for a public vote within the Prize led to a campaign back home. “People often take, and no one ever wants to support,” Scott says of Caribbean culture. Diotima, though, acts not only as a love letter to her community, but also an opportunity. As Scott has experienced all the highs of a hot new emerging brand over the past few years—the LVMH recognition, a finalist in CFDA and Vogue’s Fashion Fund, and now, a debut at New York Fashion Week—she never forgets to praise those back home. “Thanks to them, there’s room for someone like me.”

Sho Konishi

When Sho Konishi set out to start his own eponymous fashion line following his graduation from Parsons, he felt a bit at odds. The Japanese designer had just finished a thesis on sustainability in fashion, so creating a ready-to-wear collection without prospective buyers didn’t feel like an authentic next step. Instead, Konishi dove into the world of custom, made-to-order pieces, perfecting his craft and solidifying a futuristic, armor-like aesthetic that he calls “Android.” The look became a hit, and Konishi gained opportunities to dress various celebrities like Lizzo, Chloe x Halle, and even Beyoncé for magazine spreads, music videos, and public appearances. Recently, though, Konishi realized he couldn’t fully express himself through these one-off pieces—and it was time to return to collections. “I was ready to create a collection again and to express, ‘Hey, this is my 2024 spring/summer vibe,” he tells W.

Courtesy of Sho Konishi
A Sho Konishi custom look.

Now, Konishi will present at NYFW, showing off a collection he describes as avant-garde activewear. The designer was inspired by a health scare he faced a few years back, one that left him viewing fashion in a whole new light. “After that, I was like, ‘I don’t need to wear luxury clothes anymore. That’s not what’s important.’” He began taking stock of (and questioning) the surrounding fashion community. “I began asking myself, what does it mean to be fashionable or cool?” His spring 2024 collection will build on the Android aesthetic while also incorporating more wearable elements inspired by major players in the activewear space like Nike. His goal is to answer the questions he posed to himself and convince others that “being healthy is the most fashionable thing you can do.”

Courtesy of Sho Konishi
A Sho Konishi custom look.


Source: W Magazine

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