New York Fashion Week is officially back, and there are several major American brands like Thom Browne, Altuzarra, and Gabriela Hearst returning from Paris to take part in the IRL festivities. Starry names aside, one of the distinct joys of NYFW is always uncovering all the new and emerging talent also on the docket—and for spring 2022, there’s a lot to take in.
Thankfully, in the age of social media, brand discovery is easier than ever, which means that if you keep up with the style set on Instagram, there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with the newer names making appearances. Fashionable A-listers like Hailey Bieber have been wearing Kim Shui’s sexy, party-ready designs. We can also thank the likes of Kim Kardashian for introducing us to former Yeezy designer Maisie Wilen’s second-skin dresses with ’80s-inspired prints.
Hinting toward a more expansive talent roster, the schedule also includes names like Black Fashion Fair darlings Theophilio and House of Aama. Indie fashion fans will enjoy A. Potts, Private Policy, and Barragán’s inclusive approach to dressing. The bottom line is while you may come for the powerhouse names, be sure to stay for the next generation. Ahead is a curated list of the emerging names to have on your radar.
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Chances are you’re already familiar with the name Maisie Wilen. The Yeezy protégé (whose real name is Maisie Schloss) quickly rose to fame after Kim Kardashian was seen sporting her psychedelic striped dresses and skirts—in several different colors—back in 2019. As for what to expect from the L.A.-based designer for spring 2022, one can only assume that there will be ample color and fun fabrics, as a fun and sugary approach to style is what the brand has become known for.
Championed by industry insiders like T.A. luxury boutique owner Telsha Anderson and Black Fashion Fair founder Antoine Gregory, Theophilio is already becoming a household name. Jamaican-American designer Edvin Thompson makes contemporary clothing with an island feel and a Brooklyn heart. Between the brand’s one-of-one Family Reunion tees that made waves this summer and his selection of carefully woven knits, Theophilio has pieces for everyone.
House of Aama
Founded by mother-daughter design duo Akua Shabaka and Rebecca Henry, House of Aama creates timeless pieces that are inspired by the Black experience. The brand is produced entirely in Los Angeles, giving it an undeniably laid-back appeal in keeping with the West Coast lifestyle. Think effortless pieces like billowy tops and wrap skirts with polished details that will have major lasting power in your wardrobe.
With more than 180,000 followers on Instagram, Kim Shui has attracted some pretty high-profile admirers. Her super-sexy party attire infused with intricate motifs is coveted by Hailey Bieber and both Gigi and Bella Hadid. The Y2K-meets-Bratz doll aesthetic and form-fitting silhouettes will undoubtedly propel the brand to the next level.
As inclusive as it is fashion-forward, the New York– and Shanghai-based brand Private Policy offers everything from sportswear to relaxed tailoring to party dresses. The brand’s founders, Haoran Li and Siying Qu, apply sustainability efforts that are at the forefront of the brand’s ethos, with a focus on genderless silhouettes and high-quality fabrics. One can also expect ample tactile finishes like open mesh overlays to amp up the overall sensory experience of each collection.
Social-Work is a New York–based brand founded by Chenghui Zhang and Qi Wang that specializes in cool clothes with a distinct downtown feel. Combining Chinese design elements like utilitarian silhouettes with Western details, each collection brings a human touch to the design and production process. Doing its best to shine light on the “overlooked” in the industry, the brand offers a level of much-needed transparency with a database on its e-commerce site that charts who makes the pieces and how many hours each one takes from start to finish.
Inspired by designer Victor Barragán’s version of Mexico City, Barragán represents the future of fashion in the best way. The unisex label draws attention to the Mexican capital’s status as a burgeoning style hub while incorporating elements of the rich culture in the process. A prime example: Its popular leather spiral pants are inspired by an ancient petroglyph symbol that represents evolution and journey of life. The brand has become a fan favorite among underground fashion fans who are on the hunt for something with a bit more edge.
Puppets and Puppets
As the name suggests, emerging brand Puppets and Puppets designs clothing that presents a playful take on doll-like silhouettes. From Marie Antoinette–inspired minidresses with Baroque prints to playful accessories like its viral cookie and pomegranate bags, the brand doesn’t take itself too seriously (aside from its focus on using upcycled deadstock materials) and in turn is putting the fun back in fashion for the new season.
If you’re not yet familiar with A. Potts, it’s time to get acquainted. A unisex brand with clean-cut lines and pristine tailoring, its designer, Aaron Potts, is Detroit born but Brooklyn raised, and like many other BIPOC creatives in the industry, he discovered his love for fashion thanks to well-dressed members at church in their Sunday best. Each of the designer’s collections are meant to transcend seasons and trends, making them the wardrobe icons you never knew you needed.
A prime example of how fashion and art coincide, contemporary label LRS is all about concepts coming to life. From the bold motifs directly inspired by art photography to unexpected takes on classics like the jean jacket and blazer, each piece is designed to stand out. The brand was created by Mexican designer Raul Solis, who has strong industry experience—he created denim for Proenza Schouler—under his belt.
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