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New York Fashion Week F/W 2020: An Earnest Review

Of the several years I have attended the chaotic, boisterous New York Fashion Week shows, I can imminently say this year felt different.

In addition to the glamorous clothing, astute tailoring, and beautiful artistry on and behind runway production, non-conventional trends also swam freely in a sea of resplendent creation. From wearable clothing trends, to off-the-cuff societal shifts, to fresh new craftsmanship, this season did not disappoint.

Without further adieu, here is my comprehensive, earnest review of New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2020.

Off-The-Cuff Trends

To Each Their Own.

Fashion Week has been (and somewhat continues to be) an exclusive event governed by a “holy” schedule, organized by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (aka CFDA). For decades, being on the official schedule said, “hey, we as an industry take you as a designer seriously.” However, when perusing this year’s program, I noticed a plethora of new names, and therefore a lack of the usual industry veterans.

Tommy Hilfiger is out again? No Ralph Lauren or Telfar either? Are we without the sexy sexiness of Tom Ford? What about Pyer Moss? We’re losing the fun-loving rebellion that is Jeremy Scott too!? The New York Fashion Week calendar was eerily quiet for Fall/Winter 2020.

It turns out, Tom Ford showed in Los Angeles (so all of his celeb friends didn’t have to choose between him and the Oscars), Misha Nonoo unveiled her collection via Snapchat, Kerby Jean-Raymond reduced his shows to one giant show per year, Jeremy Scott debuted his heavy metal fashion revival in Paris, and Tommy Hilfiger is… well, I have no idea.

On one hand, fewer veterans meant more introductions to emerging talent — including my favorites Laquan Smith, Hakan Akkaya, Christopher John Rodgers, Fenoel, Sukeina and Peter Do — all of whom weren’t shy to introduce their fashion risks, creative techniques, or ready to wear sensibility.

A Commitment to Sustainability

A major trend this year was sustainability, (as it should be, since the fashion industry contributes to about 4-5% of global waste annually.) A few interesting ways designers approached this trend:

  1. Zimmermann acknowledged the devastation that the bush fires earlier this year had on the country, announcing that the brand donated to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery in an effort to help.

  2. Collina Strada provided the audience with pamphlets on eco-friendly food choices (the irony is not lost on me here, but at least it's a step in the right direction). In addition, the show’s decor, comprised of soil and grass, was donated afterward.

  3. Many designers highlighted if their collection used recycled materials or if their business practices are eco-friendly.

  4. Influencers like Danielle Bernstein from WeWoreWhat also jumped on the sustainable bandwagon and were open about what was borrowed and what was bought from a designer/brand.

Of course these are just a few examples of commitment to sustainability, but it’s reflective of a fast growing, industry-wide movement. It’s clear that sustainability is no longer a "trendy" message. I'm excited to see how more designers and retailers become apart of the action.

See Now, Buy Now

"Desire is the strongest human emotion," Issie Blow once said. "Desire for a hat, desire for a dress; that’s what drives people to want and buy things." In our current landscape, where emotion triumphs over pragmatism, this felt truer than ever during this season's runway shows. Consumerism took center stage this year. Designers of all types reimagined the traditional fashion ecosystem with a shared goal: to course-correct and stimulate business by catering to our “I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it" shopping impulses.

A number of designers opened their collections to the public for immediate sale. Ralph Lauren unveiled his collection in front of his Madison Ave store, where its doors opened at the end of the show, giving guests the ability to shop. Thakoon amped up his social media game through live show coverage, and then sold his collection post-show. Michael Kors also joined the masses and made a selection of runway pieces immediately available on his site.


My Favorite "Wearable" Trend Moments From Easy Adaptation to Challenging

End of Seasonal Dressing

A slew of unconventional cutouts dominated the runways proving that winter outfits don’t have to consist of only frumpy, oversized sweaters. There was a concentrated focus in the goal of looking modest yet edgy all year round. I saw an abundance of creative interpretations of this trend- slits at the hips, slashes through crop tops, openings at the torso, my list goes on for a few pages. My favorite approaches to this style:

NYFW Prabal Gurung Runway Show
Prabal Gurung F/W 2020; ©
NYFW F/W 2020, LaQuan Smith
LaQuan Smith F/W 2020, ©
NYFW F/W 2020, Dion Lee Runway Show
Dion Lee F/W 2020, ©
NYFW F/W 2020, Brandon Maxell Runway Show
Brandon Maxwell F/W 2020, ©

Necks Are Getting Dressed Too

I am a passionate admirer for details, so imagine my joy when seeing necks adorned and embellished. I scrutinized each emphasized style as they flaunted their way through the runway. Collars, top extensions, voluminous bow ties and scarves… here are a few of my favorite iterations:

NYFW F/W 2020, Libertine Runway Show
Libertine F/W 2020, ©
NYFW F/W 2020, Khaite
Khaite F/W 2020, ©
NYFW F/W 2020, Zimmerman Runway
Zimmerman F/W 2020, ©
NYFW F/W 2020, Naeem Khan
Naeem Khan F/W 2020, ©

Bring on the Drama

Striking rushing, layers upon layers of sleeves, ancillary fabric, oversized knits, trains as far as the eye can see… in a sartorial era where anything goes, volume is a prerequisite.

NYFW F/W 2020, Christian Siriano
Christian Siriano F/W 2020, ©
NYFW F/W 2020, Rodarte
Rodarte F/W 2020, ©
NYFW F/W 2020, Zimmerman Runway Show
Zimmerman F/W 2020, ©
NYFW F/W 2020, Christopher John Rodgers
Christopher John Rodgers F/W 2020, ©
NYFW F/W 2020, Michael Kors
Michael Kors F/W 2020, ©

Modern Day Victorian

This would have to be my favorite trend coming off this runway season. Prim Victorian influence - puff sleeves, ruffle trims, wool and brocade, floral overcoats. It felt like I was watching a Little Women live action.

NYFW F/W 2020, Anna Sui
Anna Sui F/W 2020, ©
NYFW F/W 2020, Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta F/W 2020, ©
NYFW F/W 2020, Ulla Johnson
Ulla Johnson F/W 2020, ©
NYFW Fall/Winter 2020, Khaite Runway
Khaite F/W 2020, ©

Brock Collection F/W 2020, ©

Accessory Trends Worthy of Trial

Full Length Gloves

Or what I like to call, 'Olivia Pope Gloves' were the break-out accessory for me. Gone are the days where these long, brazen gloves were only worn at a debutante ball. A few iterations proved that these gloves can be (and most definitely will be) worn to both formal and casual affairs.

NYFW F/W 2020, LaQuan Smith
LaQuan Smith F/W 2020, ©
NYFW F/W 2020, Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs F/W 2020, ©
NYFW F/W 2020, Libertine Runway
Libertine F/W 2020, ©
NYFW F/W 2020, The Blonds Runway Show
The Blonds F/W 2020, ©

Non-Bridal Veils

Whether dotted, embellished or whipped up from expertly wrapped tulle, this delicate headpiece found its place ALL OVER the runways. I saw bridal attire trickle down to the mainstream runways in ready-to-wear too, but the netted veil was a surprise accent that repeatedly showed up. And if I'm being honest, I don't hate it.

NYFW F/W 2020, Rodarte
Rodarte F/W 2020, ©
NYFW F/W 2020, Brock Collection
Brock Collection F/W 2020, ©

Top Color Trends of 2020

Classic Blue

Nominated as the color of the year by the Pantone Color Institute, blue symbolizes “calm, confidence, and connection.” Pantone also states, “this hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.” Hm. Very fitting.

NYFW F/W 2020, Emma Altman
Emma Altman F/W 2020, ©
NYFW F/W 2020, Carolina Herrara
Carolina Herrera F/W 2020, ©


While shades of green aren’t necessarily ‘new’ on the runway, the variations designers’ showcased of this hue most definitely were new. Ranging from olive to mint to neon, this is easily going to become the “it” color of the season.

Shamrock Green at Bibhu Mohapatra, ©
NYFW F/W 2020, Proenza Schouler
Olive Vibes at Proenza Schouler, ©
Chartreuse at Sally LaPointe, ©


Vivid, vibrant, cacophonous, an elevated autumn story. This orange hue popped up in collection after collection.

NYFW F/W 2020, Jonathan Simkhai
Jonathan Simkhai F/W 2020, ©
NYFW F/W 2020, Michael Kors Runway Show
Michael Kors F/W 2020, ©


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