Community and Our Planet. Collina Strada SS20

Hillary Taymour’s brand, Collina Strada, is another line-up from NYFW that will make you smile. This label is all about sustainability, but not in a shallow, ‘trendy’ way: each season, it focuses on community, a balanced life and our planet. The invitation listed a number of points that would help Mother Earth: eat less meat, start a garden, grow your own food, learn to compost, buy vintage and plant many trees were just some. The runway was staged on a street, along stalls of home-grown vegetables and fruits, free for pick-up (and perfect for a in-between-the-shows brunch). The models weren’t actual models, but friends of the brand, at different ages, sizes and races. They walked along their babies and pets. This was a raw and truly “real” fashion show. And the fashion was equally laid-back: it had the signature Collina Strada D.I.Y. feeling about it, full of tie-dye and garments made out of upcycled textiles and fabrics. I love New York’s small, independent brands.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Telling A Narrative. Bode SS20

Two weeks after winning the CFDA Award for Emerging Designer of the Year, Emily Adams Bode has another major achievement behind her belt: her first-ever Bode runway show, in Paris, not in New York. That’s a smart move. Men’s New York fashion week has an extremely low visibility, while Bode, a brand that possibly has the brightest, sustainability-forward concept behind it in the entire industry, needs a fair spotlight. The label’s off-kilter pieces reinterpret antique quilts and domestic textiles in a workwear context to create new narratives. Each collection harmonises disparate elements, repairing and preserving materials that would otherwise be lost, thrown away. The designer produces modern heirlooms that nod to folkloric craftsmanship with hand-stitched accents and panelled constructions. For spring-summer 2020, Bode focuses on the same idea, but with a different background. As she explained backstage, ever since launching her menswear label three years ago, she has been waiting for the right moment to present a collection inspired by her familial ties to a bygone wagon workshop based in Cincinnati that produced ornate creations for Barnum & Bailey and the Ringling Brothers. “It’s about being able to tell that narrative of the historical techniques and fabrications and then [figuring out] how we can bring this to market in larger way,” she added. An intricately embroidered coat or a suede jacket with hand-stitched florals might have been the nods to her season’s reference. The clothes that impress with detailing were put together with Bode’s classics – vintage-y, short-sleeved shirts, striped, cropped pants, over-sized overalls. I’m a huge fan of Bode and its philosophy, and it’s not the first time when I’m saying this. Big hopes for winning the LVMH Prize in a couple of days!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Sustainable Reality. Collina Strada AW19

It’s the first time I’m writing about Hillary Taymour’s brand, Collina Strada. And I guess it’s not the last time you will hear about this New York-based brand here. I was tempted to browse through her show, when I saw one of her models carry a baby on shoulders in a very bold, yellow floral turtleneck styled with watercolour pants on Man Repeller’s Instagram stories. But that’s just a glimpse of Taymour’s joyous, tie-dyed, reality-imitating theme for autumn-winter 2019. The show started off  with a “mini TED Talk,” as Hillary referred to it, given by environmental activist and hip-hop artist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. He spoke at length about protecting life and Mother Earth while models (and the baby!) came down the runway. Collina Strada’s designer used 75 percent deadstock fabric made into trousers and tops in psychedelic hand-painted prints and a daisy motif. In addition to those reused materials, Taymour also partnered with 4ocean to utilize beads the organization makes with recycled waste. These were used in straps of the dresses. What else suggested Collina Strada’s pursuit for sustainability? Making eco-ware cool. Refillable cups, lunch boxes and thermoses replaced totes and clutches. Yes!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Collector. Bode AW19

It’s official: I want to wear Bode for the rest of my life. Taking home one of the two CFDA runner-up prizes in 2018 let Emily Bode expand her truly amazing menswear brand. But still, she keeps it true to her slow fashion philosophy. Bode is actually the only brand I’m looking forward to each season during the sleepy men’s New York fashion week. She knows what the boys want, plus, the designer is praised for her sustainable practices and focus on beautifully curated craftsmanship. The autumn-winter 2019 collection is dedicated to all the collectors, who just love gathering paraphernalia (basically, me). The band of long-haired boys played soft rock tunes during the presentation, while the venue (a garage/warehouse) was filled with tour posters and hand-picked vintage furniture. Bode can make wonders out of anything.  PVC raincoats embedded with pennies and milk bottle caps. Velvet suiting made out of patchwork, each piece completely different. Hand-illustrated corduroy jackets. By styling those unique clothes with fluffy mittens, Himalayan caps and furry baboosh slippers, the overall mood is somewhere between a chic nomad and a cozy guy with a soft spot for handicraft. Big yes.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.