Discover more from Doll Dealbook
Chapter 18: Emerging Designers of NYFW
The new names to know from the spring 2024 season.
New York Fashion week just wrapped; and I’ve heard so many people say that this was one of the drabbest seasons of all time. With wearability taking a front row seat and experimentalism fading to the background, little stood out. But, if you’re not watching the emerging designers of New York Fashion Week, you’re missing out. As commercial as NYFW has become—particularly for the latest iteration of spring 2024—it’s rising names like Wiederhoeft and Dauphinette (now both verified can’t-miss attractions of the week) that are giving us life with their wacky, whimsical work, like a soul-awakening gut-punch to the utterly bland sea of Michael Kors and Coach beige-ified headlines. New York needs its weirdness back, and emerging designers are the only ones who can save us all.
Here are the newest emerging designers of NYFW to know. Shop their work, share them with your friends or follow them on Instagram; those are the best things you can do to help the rising brands doing interesting things.
Doll Dealbook is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
He’s been quietly designing for his not-so-quiet celebrity clients (Cardi B, Lady Gaga, Bella Hadid, Selena Gomez and more!) since 2015, but he only made his runway debut earlier this year with an intimate show that took place inside Spring Studios. Fast forward to the spring 2024 season and LoCascio’s work feels like it’s getting better and better. It’s beautiful, it’s ethereal, it’s colorful. It’s what I want to wear. Consider the rainbow maxi gown with over 20,000 crystals which took 220 hours of hand embroidery by 15 artisans. For the everyday moments, there’s bright knitwear, deliciously juicy-hued studded jackets in turquoise and bubble gum pink, ruffled denim and knitted skirts covered in frogs. I almost screamed when the sequined pink dolphin dress went down the runway. This is the kind of brand that makes you feel JOY but also hope (!) about the future of fashion in New York.
If you love little pastel wonders with the overarching theme of handcrafted sustainability and gender fluidity, then you simply must know Tara Babylon. The designer made her debut one year ago, and for spring 2024, she put a heavy emphasis on the artisanal side of things. Think: a rainbow of candy-colored woven dresses (and matching mini bags) that each took weeks to make, crafted from the scraps of fabrics left over from her other designs. Babylon studied at Central Saint Martins and Parsons. Her colors reminded me of the early days of Meadham Kirchhoff.
One of the few emerging designers creating work for all sizes and emphasizing—truly—an inclusive range of models, is Sam Finger. The designer just started his label earlier this year and he’s already making an impact for his upcycled basics and atypically typical wardrobe staples. He’s reinventing with a new sort of signature language; all patchworked, ripped, deconstructed, and twisted. It’s that kind of new apocalyptic vibe but it’s not ultra intimidating; as seen in the upcycled tank tops and matching dresses. The brand is currently stocking its garments up to size XXL but I hope—with its super diverse cast—to see it expand soon. Brands like Selkie have set a new standard with sizing up to 5x.
Like so many great brands, Tanner Fletcher was born out of the pandemic, in 2020. For spring 2024, the gender fluid label staged its debut runway show, a humorous nod to the traditional beauty pageant with models walking the runway while a narrator presented them and their unique (possibly embellished?) qualities—like one model who earned a pilot license at the age of 9 or another who works as a sewing instructor. The bow-covered suits (the blazer is on my wishlist. Can you imagine it worn over everything?), ruffled velvet mini skirts, giant pussybow blouses and silky tuxedo skirts are co-ed—so richly satisfying and full of retro nostalgia reinvented. Friends Tanner Richie and Fletcher Kasell are behind the brand, a dynamic duo with backgrounds in the buying and interior design worlds.
The multifaceted brand Advisry also made its runway debut for spring 2024. Keith Herron kicked off Advisry about a decade ago with T-shirts, but he only designed his first full collection for Advisry for fall 2022; billed as menswear only. The spring 2024 collection was co-ed and showed us a bevy of ideas: easy streetwear, Technicolor fueled colorways, the interrogation of Americana and the influence of art on culture and society. Most exciting? A non-boring Adidas collab which manifested as a sweater that referenced “I heart New York”; now presented as "I (Adidas Trefoil logo) VRSY." AND: the enormous balloon-like bubble dresses. The brand feels like it already has a handle on cool, covetable (and relatively affordable) accessories, like a camera-shaped bag, heart cut-out maryjanes and a NY logo hat. I would love to see them delve more into those worlds.
It was a calm and surreal debut runway collection—with wit and precision tailoring—from Grace Ling. The Singapore-born, New York based designer put 30 looks on display with her signature 3D metal finishings. As another wickedly talented Central Saint Martins and Parsons graduate, Ling held design apprenticeships at Thom Browne and The Row before she founded her own brand in 2020. The transparent (knitted!) dresses and tops looked expensive, but the metal roses that pierced through the collection were even better. Did you know she also makes butt-shaped handbags?
Rachel Scott founded Diotima in 2021, and it feels like the kind of brand we’ve been waiting for. Scott seeks to show a “seductive and nuanced vision of Caribbean style, looking to the future,” while remaining grounded in history and her lived experience as a Jamaican in New York. That means: beautiful gossamer-like traditional Jamaican starched cotton crochet rendered as harness tops or placed on the sides of tailored trousers.
Bad Binch TongTong
Like I said earlier, New York needs its weirdness back. Somehow, Bad Binch TongTong by Terrence Zhou is the only one brave enough to really take us on that journey. He is fully committed. The designer previously debuted a year ago at New York Fashion Week with his creature-like silhouettes that challenge the idea of wearability—and quite frankly, clothing as a whole. Taking place at the Tribeca Synagogue, Zhou’s new characters walked through the aisles with alien prosthetic heads and massive pillow-like structures so large I could barely capture the pieces on my phone, even on the 0.5 setting. Two models wearing massive round puffballs, their bodies connected by a long piece of fabric, waltzed down each aisle, hitting people in the head as they paraded by. Is it wearable? No. But the brand does sell much more toned down versions of its sculptural pieces. Zhou aspires to give us feeling—to make us think and question everything. And I don’t think there was any other brand that did that at NYFW.
Questions? Thoughts? Obsessions? Leave them in the comments!
If you enjoyed this, please share with a friend or consider a paid subscription for exclusive access to more content.
Until next time dolls,
BTW. I use affiliate links where possible, which means I may get a small commission from things you buy. Thanks for your support. <3
P.S… did you know I wrote a book on New York fashion, which just released!? Order it here.