A Fashion Enlightenment at New York Men’s Fashion Week SS18

by Austin Velarde

Photos by Cheryl Gorski of Fashion Maniac

It is common knowledge that no form of learning compares with the act of experiencing real life situations and problems. This philosophy is easily applied within the fashion industry. Before I attended my first men’s fashion week in New York, my ability to view fashion was confined through the lenses of other people. My world of fashion was solely based on what I read in magazines and what I saw online. This past week I was forced to broaden my horizons as I discovered new designers and watched their clothes come alive on the runways. Men’s fashion week soon became a “fashion enlightenment” for me as I encountered new styles and clothing concepts that were once out of my realm of knowledge.

The Rush of New York Fashion Week

I am so thankful that I was afforded the opportunity to attend men’s fashion week. Thanks to the journalistic skills I learned in high school and the continual grooming I receive from publisher Cheryl Gorski, of Fashion Maniac, I was able to enter the week confident for whatever tasks came my way. Despite the strong foundation I had to support me throughout the week, no amount of preparation could have ever helped me understand how crazy fashion week can be. The best way to describe my experience at men’s fashion week was that it was a rush I have never felt before. I felt this way the second I stepped into Dune Studios for New York Men’s Day. During that opening, my life and my perspective on fashion completely changed and as I went from show to show, a feeling of adrenaline and excitement continually built up inside of me.

Austin Velarde and Christian Siriano at New York Men’s Day. Photo by Cheryl Gorski of Fashion Maniac.

It wasn’t until the LUAR show on Thursday that I fully realized I had become addicted to this feeling. On that day, the audience and I became part of a transformation into a world full of creativity. This experience cannot be fully grasped through the eyes of another person. I have learned this past week, that no matter how talented the photographer or journalist is, nothing can compare to the organic experience of attending a live presentation of clothes.

Austin Velarde and Leah Kim. Photo by Cheryl Gorski of Fashion Maniac.

The Trends

After seeing so many shows in one week, I also began to notice that trends seamlessly began to pop out at me. The one trend that remained constant throughout the whole week was the color red. Whether it was present on the runway of Carlos Campos or the presentation of GUSTAV VON ASCHENBACH by Robert Geller, red reigned supreme this fashion week. For me, the color red has always been a no-brainer addition to my closet. While wearing red, I have always felt a heightened sense of power, control and sexuality.

Michelle Song and Austin Velarde at Skylight Clarkson Square. Photo by Cheryl Gorski of Fashion Maniac.

Another trend that was quite prevalent throughout all of New York men’s fashion week was the versatile athleisure look. I have noticed that the metropolitan man of today is moving towards clothes that are comfortable, ready to wear and versatile for any occasion. Coming from a generation that is always on the go, I can understand the want for clothes that are multifunctional. Men today are searching for an outfit that can be worn at a lunch gathering with friends and seamlessly transitioned into an evening dinner with a quick change of shoes, all while remaining comfortable.

One of the final observations I made this past week was the power of street style towards the designers. Street style today is demanding that designers create a more gender fluid feel to their clothes. This was the case at many of the shows such as Rochambeau and Raun LaRose. In the eyes of a young millennial at his first fashion week, the tides towards a gender-fluid future in fashion are strong and imminent.

Austin Velarde and Eric Rutherford at the Tom Snyder runway. Photo by Cheryl Gorski of Fashion Maniac.

My Fashion Enlightenment

In trying to process this whole week, I have realized I will never forget the rush of my first fashion week. Though I may have been running on only four hours of sleep each day, I cannot picture my life in any other industry. This past week, I have learned that the fashion industry is an addicting world where one can express themselves in anyway they see fit. It was truly an honor to attend men’s fashion week. I am so thankful to have had such an eye opening experience that fosters my growth as a writer and moreover as a person.

Austin Velarde on the scene at New York Fashion Week Men’s. Photo by Cheryl Gorski of Fashion Maniac.

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