February 21, 2021

New York Fashion Week Men’s Day Hints at the Evolution of Menswear

What will menswear look like in 2021? As cultural ideas about what is considered masculine shift, so do traditional ideas of dress. Take the latest couture season as proof: Bespoke menswear found itself woven throughout collections from Valentino, Giambattista Valli, and Fendi during a week that is usually exclusive to womenswear. 

The emerging designers at New York Fashion Week Men’s Day perhaps exemplify the changing points of view about menswear best. Many of them offered genderless collections, while others debuted womenswear lines alongside their menswear. Others found inspirations in the past to lead us to a more harmonious future. Here, six new names to watch. 

Photo: Courtesy of Chelsea Grays

Chelsea Grays

Why would anyone want to relive the trials of 2020? For Chelsea Grays, the woeful year had a few silver linings. “With the drastic changes of 2020, it showed me that nothing is forever and to expect the unexpected,” Grays tells Vogue. “There were personal challenges that I had to face and it was time to boss up.” This season, the unisex brand stayed close to its roots of political and social commentary. Photographed on the streets of Paris, each upcycled look reflects a specific struggle: coronavirus, climate change, and voting and racial injustice issues. Done in an abstract, artful way, Grays’s are pieces worthy of attention.

Photo: Courtesy of Federico Cina

Photo: Courtesy of Federico Cina

Photo: Courtesy of Federico Cina

Federico Cina

Federico Cina’s genderless brand is based in Milan. His new collection was inspired by “Per Strada,” a series of photographs taken by photographer Guido Guidi from 1980 to 1994 on the city’s Via Emilia, and the loose-fitted ensembles do indeed nod to the Italian fashion capital’s day-to-day glamour.

Photo: Courtesy of Ka Wa Key

Photo: Courtesy of Ka Wa Key

Photo: Courtesy of Ka Wa Key

Photo: Courtesy of Ka Wa Key

Ka Wa Key

Fantasy and reality have always been propped up as opposing themes, but London-based designers Key Chow and Jarno Leppanen play with harmoniously combining the two into one. Their playful new collection, Through the Looking Glass, is inspired by characters like Willy Wonka, Peter Pan, the Mad Hatter, and Schitt’s Creek’s Moira Rose. “Imagination is not tied to a time or a place; it is universal and for everyone,” they say. This season, the duo’s imagined reality is one characterized by reimagined knits, loud colorful prints, and oversized silhouettes. 

Photo: Courtesy of KoH T

Photo: Courtesy of KoH T

Photo: Courtesy of KoH T

KoH T

Guided by the ideas of yin and yang, the Japanese label KoH T stands for the idea that “everything in this world is originally beautiful.” For fall 2021, designer Taisuke Kohji found inspiration in the work of Hon’ami Koetsu, a Japanese craftsman from the 1500s, creating a monochromatic and utilitarian collection designed to resemble traditional Japanese paper crafts. “What KoH T and Koetsu have in common is that they both seek to produce the highest-quality product by designing familiar things with innovative ideas,” Kohji says. The collection was photographed in a mix of urban and rural settings, proving KoH T’s garments will work in any environment. 

Photo: Courtesy of ONYRMRK

Photo: Courtesy of ONYRMRK

Photo: Courtesy of ONYRMRK

Onyrmrk

Rwang Pam and Mark Kim of Onyrmrk (pronounced “on your mark”) are reimagining normalcy for fall 2021. The clothes are a direct nod to the relaxed silhouettes of the ’90s and utilize only natural fabrics. “It is not so much optimism that is important, but rather the resilience and strength we have garnered through the mutual support of those around us—which is more sustainable especially as people of color,” the duo says. “That is why this season our collection, titled Kinship, portrays the strength of the bond between people within a community.”

Photo: Courtesy of The Stolen Garment

Photo: Courtesy of The Stolen Garment

Photo: Courtesy of The Stolen Garment

The Stolen Garment

A trip to a used bookstore inspired The Stolen Garment designer Jungwoo Park’s first New York Fashion Week collection. In the dusty adult book section of the store, Park was struck by the tragic poignancy of book titles from the ’90s with words and phrases like passion, delinquent, and end of the world. He translated this into his lineup through spiked crowns, roped harnesses, ponchos, and even a robe adorned with green protruding mushrooms. According to the Korean designer, the books produce “an untranslatable feeling” that was reflected through Park’s quirky garments.