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Designers + Agents: Made in NY Collective

An emerging designer trade show for fashion, jewelry and accessories

by David Graver
on 16 September 2016

Another New York Fashion Week has come to an end. And yet, a different platform for clothing and accessories is about to open its doors—perhaps more quietly, but with a considerably concise vision. The Designers + Agents: Made in NY Collective trade show features a dozen emerging NYC-based fashion and jewelry designers. Some onsite will be showing for only their second or third time. All brands were carefully selected by Designers + Agents (D+A), a trade organization—and once the first-ever strategic business partner of CFDA—that introduces hundreds of brands around the globe annually. This year, in partnering with New York City’s Economic Development Corporation, D+A has focused solely on brands that are designed and made in New York. Unsurprisingly, the result is powerful.

After a dialogue with the EDC, D+A Managing Director Meryl Mandelbaum began to identify 100 brands across ready-to-wear, jewelry and accessories that would be an appropriate fit. From this list, she honed it down to 12 participants. They range from the well-known Alasdair and William Okpo to reclaimed denim brand Noorism. What visitors, retailers and buyers will see first-hand, Mandelbaum explains, is "a group of designers, some of whom they have never seen before, truly innovating and showcased in a really ideal setting. These are serious full-blown collections from independent designers knee-deep in NYC."

"On a sentimental level," Mandelbaum continues, "New York was always the hub of fashion—not just the runway shoes, but of manufacturing as well." Many brands shifted internationally for what they deemed were economically attractive production situations, but Mandelbaum makes clear that "something is lost in that." With manufacturing in NYC, she says, "There is a return to the very valuable experience of being able to walk into your factory, look at your director, talk about you garment and the quality you are after. It puts a little kit of magic back into production." Even a quick glimpse at the participants this year reveals plenty of NYC-made magic.

Designers + Agents: Made in NY Collective runs from 17-19 September at The Starrett Lehigh Building, 601 West 26th Street, NYC. People can register for free online.

Images courtesy of respective brands

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