Raul Lopez, Luar
After taking over as creative director this season, Lopez, who was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New York City, has transformed Luar into a notably gender fluid brand. As he puts it, “Gender right now is ‘who cares.’” This season, Lopez’s designs, which primarily consist of layered neutral leather prints, come together to build upon a urban and futuristic collection. He creates dimension in his pieces by layering whole outfits with what appears to be tags void of the prices and barcodes. For his spring show, titled Corporativo, male models will strut down the runway in stiff, corporate, pinstripe blazers blazers and satin mini skirts. To Lopez, this collection is all about “an exploration of the impenetrable facade that protects the men and women of corporate America.”
Snow Xue Gao, Snow Xue Gao
Parsons School of Design alum Snow Xue Gao attempts to breakdown the boundaries of gender this season. Her inspiration for bending the rules of gender and sexuality derives from the Peking Opera that she saw while growing up in Beijing, where men and women often played gender bended roles. When debuting her first collection at last year’s Parsons’ M.F.A. show, Gao dressed her male models in blazers layered over traditional silk dresses, while her female models rocked pieces that were both office chic and floral. Gao considers her pieces to transcend gender.
Jenny Cheng, Gauntlett Cheng
For Jenny Cheng, a Chinese-American who was born and raised in New York City, and her co-designer Esther Gauntlett, their label Gauntlett Cheng has primarily been a response to anxieties surrounding work life, sexuality and finding a sense of home. The spring collection uses a transparent fabric and breast cutouts that seem to translate the designers’ emotional vulnerabilities into physical exposure. In the world of Gauntlett Cheng, even most sensitive parts of the female figure are on display.
Recho Omondi, Omondi
This Kenyan-born, Brooklyn-raised designer is unapologetically feminine with her collection of brightly colored dresses that are endlessly ruffled, ruched and pleated. Pieces such as her shredded Carmichael dress completely capture Omondi’s theme of grown-up, experimental princess. Overall, the collection can be labeled as simple, yet bold. Although she won’t be showing her collection at New York Fashion Week, make sure to check out this up-and-coming designer on Instagram.
Romeo Hunte, Romeo Hunte New York
Born in raised in Brooklyn, New York, Romeo Hunte notes that he grew up around very fashionable black women. His label, Romeo Hunte New York attempts to reflect that, and capture an effortless and cool vibe. His spring collection thrives off of nude colors and makes wearing fishnet tights as pants a definitive possibility.
Email Elijah Scott at [email protected].