On The Hilt Of Fashion: The Up And Comers

Just as in business and the arts, fashion designers in New York City are at the vanguard of the fashion industry. New York City’s 900 fashion houses – and industry personnel comprising 6% of the city’s total workforce – not only set trends domestically but continue to be an influential driving force in the garment business worldwide.

As one of the “Big Four” fashion capitals of the world – including Paris, Milan and London – New York is home to some of the world’s largest and most influential style icons, boasting more fashion showrooms than anywhere else in the world.

Every year, over 75 world-renowned industry events are held in Manhattan – such as New York Fashion Week (NYFW), where some of the industry’s most established brands along with exciting up-and-coming designers show their latest collections to the hundreds of thousands in attendance and millions live-streaming.

Making your mark as a designer in New York City is no easy feat. In a city that can make or break careers, it takes talent, hard work, connections, and a generous portion of luck to show up on the industry’s radar. Here are a few of those designers who are rising to the top.

Nina Tiari

This exciting, well-rounded artist studied at Parsons New School for Design in Manhattan, and has quite a promising career ahead of her. Before Nina Tiari debuted her ready-to-wear women’s collection at NYFW earlier this year, she was a stylist and creative consultant for many international publications, and has become somewhat of a celebrity darling, collaborating with Jay Z., Kanye West (a mentor), and Madonna.

Her NYFW women’s wear collection was inspired party by abstract art, and partly by politics. Exuding a sense of power in her silhouettes – glimmering with metallic power colors and other textiles – Tiari’s NYFW garments were impeccably tailored and could easily transition from day to evening without losing any of their cool factor.

Photo: FashionBombDaily

Jérôme LaMaar

From his first big break at the ripe old age of 15 by interning for Kimora Lee Simons at Baby Phat, to designing Mariah Carey’s Adventure’s Of Mimi tour costumes, to designing his own jewelry, to working with Armani, Chado Ralph Rucci and Swarovski, Jérôme LaMaar accomplished more by age 20 than most designers do in a lifetime.  

In 2014, Jérôme launched his own line of women’s wear – 5:31 Jérôme (his birth date) – to offer fashion-conscious women sexy and wearable clothing that is functional and feminine, with loads of style.

Pop mega-icon Beyonce has been commissioning many garments from 5:31 Jérôme since its launch, including a purple coat that helped put the designer on the map. The diva seems to perfectly embody LaMaar’s self-proclaimed urban chic vibe – “Streetglam for the Hyperfemme’ — you know, the hair is done, nails are done, looking pretty, smelling good, feeling good.”’

Jonathan Simkhai

Another rising designer from New York is Jonathan Simkhai. Simkhai studied at the Parsons School of Design, and Fashion Institute of Technology. He was recognized early in his career with many industry awards prior to becoming part of the CFDA Fashion Incubator program, which is devoted to helping new, talented designers launch and grow their own businesses.

Simkhai’s is a luxury ready-to-wear brand (inspired by menswear) that explores femininity with an eye on confidence and versatility. Because of his education and background, Simkhai’s interest in craft and technology is often infused in his contoured silhouettes, custom textiles, and cosmopolitan aesthetic.

Celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Kate Bosworth and Kim Kardashian can often be seen wearing Simkhai’s trend-setting garments.

Photo: FashionTimes

Rosie Assoulin

Rosie Assoulin has the remarkable ability to make fashion comfortable, chic, and fun. Her clothing looks easy to wear, yet is very polished and elegant. This seems to be in Assoulin’s DNA, as she mused during an ELLE magazine interview, “If I can make a ball gown feel like a pair of sweatpants, then I have succeeded.”   

Assoulin’s clothing has been described as “statement daywear”, “less formal eveningwear,” and “whimsical.” She never loses sight of the person wearing her garments, creating pieces of impeccable tailoring and taste, while maintaining a sense of humor. Her love of “celebration clothes” stems from happy childhood memories of her family in Brooklyn always having to dress up for one family celebration or another.

Assoulin was recognized by Forbes magazine in 2014 when she was chosen to be part of their ’30 Under 30’ feature.

Photo: Dazed

Raul Solis

Never unwilling to take chances, Mexican-born Raul Solis dropped out of fashion school to become an expert at denim for 7 for All Mankind, which eventually landed him a gig as the head of Proenza Schouler’s denim line in New York City.

Solis’ LRS brand of women’s ready-to-wear is bold, sexy, and this year – political. With jumpsuits detailed with torso-length zippers, sassy cheerleader skirts, backless dresses, underwear with political messages, and flirty accessories, Solis has boosted the sex appeal of his line and exercised his First Amendment rights, proving that fashion can be a “driving force in culture, changing the way we live and look.”

An Eye On The Horizon

Two other notable young brands operating out of New York City are Area – a young design studio “specializing in textile manipulation” – and Linder – a men’s wear brand that enjoys “tapping into weird places,” with an “excitement for the strange.”

There’s no place quite like this city to inspire the best in design and fashion. The world will be watching as New York style-setters and innovators rock the fashion industry year after year.

Look for next week’s blog, “The Well-Known Department Stores vs. Small Boutiques”.

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