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“Front Row Seats” For All at NY Fashion Week 2021

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A.Potts NYFW digital presentation, shown on a laptop, features Alvin Ailey dancers. Photo by Kari Jensen
A.Potts NYFW digital presentation, shown on a laptop, features Alvin Ailey dancers. Photo by Kari Jensen

This story was written by Kari Jensen.

New York Fashion Week (NYFW) went online again for the second time during the pandemic, hosting a digital showcase Feb. 14-17, prompting some media outlets to boast that everyone watching had a “front row seat.”

Runway shows, fashion shoots, artistic videos, and interviews by designers and brands are currently featured on either of these two digital platforms:


The twice-a-year event features local established and emerging designers, as well as some international brands. NYFW also presented a mostly digital format in September 2020, due to the pandemic.

Going forward, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) may begin referring to NYFW as the “American Collection Calendar,” given that “some designers and brands are showing abroad, digitally, or at other times of the year” (not just during NYFW), according to their website.

“This season, even more than last, will be a great challenge for all of us as the world grapples with an increasingly devastating pandemic and economic downturn,” Tom Ford, CFDA chairman, wrote in a letter to the fashion industry earlier this year.

Designer Aaron Potts drew inspiration from singer Jody Watley and modern dance for his unisex fall/winter 2021 collection. The A.Potts digital presentation even featured modern dancers from Alvin Ailey. Garbed in the designer’s yellow, gray, and black hued garments in nylons, jerseys, and wools, their movements only helped to emphasize some pieces exaggerated proportions.

In September 2020, Mr. Potts was among designers showcased at NYFW by the Black in Fashion Council and IMG. In February 2021, 16 designers are spotlighted, including: Beads Byaree, Chelsea Paris, Chuks Collins, Come Back as a Flower, Edas, Kendra DuPlantier, House of Aama, Label by Three, Local European, Lola Ade, Marrisa Wilson, Michel Men, Nicole Benefield, Nicole Shante, Third Crown, and Whensmokeclears.

Wyoming's landscape and the state's ranch culture inspired Victor Li's fall/winter 2021 collection. Photo courtesy of Agentry PR
Wyoming’s landscape and the state’s ranch culture inspired Victor Li’s fall/winter 2021 collection. Photo courtesy of Agentry PR

Victor Li turned to the American West for inspiration for his fall/winter 2021 collection. On Feb. 15, the brand’s digital showing debuted a full womenswear line and footwear, in addition to menswear. The video was much like an in-person fashion presentation, with co-ed models wearing the garments and the camera focusing on a single model at a time, bringing into view each garment’s details, such as topstitching, tailoring or silkscreening.

Jason Wu was among a few designers who did present a live event, creating a “Mr. Wu General Store” set in an empty warehouse on Broadway, with models cat-walking between aisles stocked with produce and food staples. A digital format of the show was also released here.

Although the “who’s who” of onlookers could not be seen, the digital soundtrack featured audience and street noise in the background. The produce was later donated to City Harvest, New York City’s largest food rescue organization.

Upcoming NYFW digital fashion showings include Nicole Miller Feb. 19, Carolina Herrera Feb. 23, and Christian Siriano Feb. 25.

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