NEW YORK, United States — American fashion is at a crossroads. But for industry leaders, disruption is a source of optimism, not despair.
Andrew Rosen, for one, welcomes the challenge. “Times like these create opportunities for those that have an authentic point of view and can see beyond just what’s the obvious,” said the Theory chief executive on Tuesday night at the tin-ceiling Beekman, where a close knit group of industry leaders, influencers and investors gathered to celebrate BoF’s latest special print edition.
The dinner, from the kitchen of acclaimed restaurant Fowler & Wells, may have taken place just one night after the Met Gala, but any signs of hangovers were indiscernible. Guests included including Diane Von Furstenberg, Donna Karan, Tory Burch, Natalie Massenet, Rachel Zoe, Pierre-Yves Roussel, Joseph Altuzarra, Jonathan Saunders, Christopher Kane, Jason Wu, Vanessa Traina, Kate Young, Emily Weiss, Laure Heriard-Dubreuil, Victor Luis, Troy Young and Michelle Kessler-Sanders.
And the theme of the issue? “America,” of course, featuring Condé Nast artistic director Anna Wintour on the cover.
“I think there’s a lot of excitement around American fashion and what we’re now able to do here,” explained stylist, designer and entrepreneur Rachel Zoe, who hosted her runway show at an intimate dinner in her hometown of Los Angeles this past February.
“I think people are understanding that less is more — less product with more integrity — and that’s probably a good thing for American fashion,” added designer Tory Burch.
Vogue’s Mark Holgate sees that integrity in the work of the next generation of country’s designers. “Every year, you’re surprised by the breadth and range, not just what of people do, but what they create,” he said. “I certainly felt that after the last set of shows in New York. I thought about Sies Marjan, Vaquera, Joseph Altuzarra, Gypsy Sport…very different labels, but they contemplate something really vital and exciting.”
“They are more aware of their impact on the planet,” added fashion consultant and friend of BoF, Julie Gilhart.
Young talent was also on stylist Micaela Erlanger’s mind. “I think there’s a lot of changing of the guard in fashion night now, American and European… [new talent] finally has the opportunity to showcase their work on a global scale.”
But the event’s guests were also very aware of the rampant disruption facing the American fashion and retail industries today — while also embracing the opportunities such changes can bring.
“It’s going to be a survival of the fittest situation, so you’ve just got to relish that, take advantage of it if you can, think differently,” said Rag & Bone chief executive and designer Marcus Wainwright.
“I think we’ve been hearing such bad news out of apparel, but in accessories, it feels like people are more willing to take risks, push the envelopes,” added Warby Parker founder Neil Blumenthal. “It always gets us excited when creativity can be matched with a business case.”
BoF founder and chief executive Imran Amed shared a similar outlook, as he toasted the crowd. “One important milestone for us was to finally plant a flag in the US,” he said. “After 10 years…we are thinking about BoF as 10 years young. Where there is disruption, there is opportunity. Here’s to the next 10 years.”
The “America” issue was supported by QIC Global Real Estate.