Last night, Raf Simons made his New York Fashion Week Men’s debut with a show that paid homage to the Big Apple. After relocating to New York to embark on a new role as chief creative officer of Calvin Klein, Simons has undoubtedly been inspired by his surroundings. After familiarising himself with life in the Empire State, Simons is expected to explore what it means to be an American today through his collections. At his menswear show, he began to grapple with those topics, finding ways to reinvent Milton Glaser’s ‘I heart NY’ logos and other American iconography.
History shows us that fashion and art are deeply entwined with political and social movements. Simons was in the middle of designing this collection when Donald Trump was elected President of the US, and it has undoubtedly had an effect on his creative vision. Still, unlike the new POTUS, Simons has succeeded in producing a version of patriotism that is positive and inclusive.
Simons’s collection could definitely be perceived as a call to arms for the younger generation, as models stormed the runway wearing garments emblazoned with phases including “YOUTH PROJECT” and “OUT OF THIS NIGHTMARE”.
The show also has a greater significance within the fashion world, as New York menswear has often struggled to create the same buzz as other fashion capitals. Alongside Beyonce’s pregnancy, Simons’s show is a welcome piece of good news as the US struggles to come to terms with its new place in the world.