The Big Ideas of NYFW:M, with Buying Director Jorge Valls
Now that New York Fashion Week: Men’s is over, let’s break it down. What was it? What did it all mean?
But first check out these bosses: That’s our men’s buying director Jorge Valls on the left with Steven Kolb, CEO of the CFDA, the organizer of NYFW:M. Twice a year, these men work together to bring you the future of fashion.
And spring 2018, the season that just showed, was exciting for several reasons—not least of which is that it will hit the floor at the same time as we open our first standalone men’s store in Manhattan.
What will that moment in men’s fashion look like? Here are Jorge’s major takeaways after seeing collections from many of the hottest brands on the planet.
SHOP: men’s designer
From what you saw at runway shows, in presentations and visiting showrooms, were there any fashion themes that connected everything?
I think the streetwear movement continues. And by that I mean, there’s still lots of athletic inspiration, lots of casual ideas like tracksuits but trying to make that feel new and cool, even dressy. Color: so much color. We haven’t seen this much color in a long time, so that’s exciting. We’re going to have more choices than just black, gray and navy. Item-wise, I think the campshirt idea is still going strong, usually in a floral print but tweaked. Instead of being a happy floral print, making it in dark colors. Tons of pants that have a side stripe, so almost like track pants but wool. Those were kind of the big things.
What’s a brand we don’t currently sell that you were really impressed by?
I didn’t. I know it’s recycled.
It’s recycled. It has a softness and romanticism to it that’s really beautiful. It’s definitely something to watch going forward. A lot of talent there.
How does NYFW:M compare to what you saw in Europe?
I would say Milan is much more rooted in traditional menswear. There’s starting to be a movement of street ideas there, but c’mon, it’s menswear. It’s tailored. Everyone’s showing suits. In Paris, it’s much more conceptual and artistic. Paris tends to go a little dark. So it’s a little more mysterious, shall we say? The U.S. is more clothes that real guys wear. Which in a way is great, and in a way is less great because it’s not as inspiring. It seems to be chasing more than driving new ideas. But it’s also more salable and more commercial.
More functional, exactly. Trend-wise, in Europe we saw a lot of outdoor ideas, or reinterpretations of that. Like climbing gear, but used as trim on something. And outdoor fabrics. We didn’t see that here. We did see, because of all the athletic ideas, all kinds of meshes, nylons and tech fabrics. But honestly, that idea of mixing casual and dressy is everywhere. Which goes back to your functional point, right? Everyone wants wardrobes that are functional.
Personally, I’m motivated by lack of funds.
Right, it’s expensive to buy clothes for every different occasion, so you need to think about how to mix it up and multitask, in a way.
What were some of the non-clothing-related experiences you enjoyed from brands? Like smells, artwork, sounds…
Experience is important to customers, and we’re customers at these shows and presentations. So it’s about creating the full impact, the full effect. A lot of brands have a certain set that they develop for a certain show, or a certain showroom or a certain collection even. Ovadia had a scent they used during their runway show that reminded them of what it smelled like working in their father’s warehouse as kids. Even in Europe at some of the shows, there was definitely a distinct scent. And you already wrote about the wings + horns showroom, which was amazing. It creates the full experience for the buyers, who can hopefully translate that for the customer too.
Image by Mike Chard