Designer and creative director of Ikiré JonesPlanetCreator
For Walé Oyéjidé, designer and creative director of Ikiré Jones, whose designs also appear in Black Panther, the event was a way to use “fashion as a vehicle to actually, tangibly help people.” (The designs will be auctioned via Charitybuzz in support of Save the Children.) “If this became a normalized thing, if we always did this,” he said, “it would make [fashion] more inspiring and make the public at large that much more confident and interested in what and why we do what we do. It kind of justifies your million-dollar sneakers if a portion of it is actually helping to sustain the world around you. Honestly, there’s no reason this shouldn’t be at least a marginal portion of everybody’s business model.”
Becca McCharen of Chromat invited Tolu Aremu, a fellow designer on her team, to work with her on a look that combines African ankara fabric with tech materials like neoprene. “As soon as Becca approached me with the project—Black Panther,African superheroes—I was like ‘Whaaat?’ There’s nothing better than that!” Aremu told V.F. “I thought, ‘What’s an African superhero Chromat babe?’ And I immediately thought of my mother,” whom Aremu recalled seeing in traditional African garb as a kid.
The hybrid presentation-slash-party wasn’t just another way for Disney to build on the pre-existing buzz surrounding Black Panther. As Sophie Theallet told V.F.,“This is a historical moment. I can’t imagine the joy of these little kids—that it’s the first time they’ll have a black superhero that looks like them.” She continued, “With fashion, you’re supposed to have a voice and to speak and to have integrity. It’s not just about making clothes . . . I’m interested in fashion with a voice and with a message—that’s what I stand for.”
One day earlier, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, fashion met film in a decidedly more old-school way, with a double feature of Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt and Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up at the Lower East Side’s hip revival house, the Metrograph. The event served as the centerpiece of Visionary Form, a weeks-long collaboration between the Metrograph and the fashion video network M2M that began in January—an effort to unite fashion and film, and bring the energy of N.Y.F.W. many crosstown blocks east of its usual stomping grounds.