A Celebration of Fashion, Music, Culture, and all Things New york
A lot of folks worried the pandemic would have long-lasting effects on New York City’s lifeblood and culture – that the electric energy that makes New York New York would be difficult to reclaim. But as the city has opened up again, we’re relieved to find that the defeatists’ doubts were in vain. What makes New York what it is is the the people doing the things. This year’s MADE x PayPal is confirmation that the city is as magical as it ever was.
Last weekend witnessed the epic return of MADE X PayPal’s two day celebration of fashion, music and culture at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Launched in 2009, MADE pays homage to the evolution of fashion’s role in culture as an extension of self-expression and identity. The event describes itself as a ‘talent incubator’ – a space for the next generation of New York based creators to flourish, and flourish they did. Highlights included music features from NYC’s favorite DJs and artists, a jaw-dropping runway show made possible through event partner and street-savvy clothing line Public School NYC, and a vibrant marketplace marked by exclusive drops from local brands and shops on site.
We know we’re VERY lucky to have had the chance to take part in the extravaganza. For those who missed it, we’ve curated an NKM collection of MADE x PayPal 2022 ones-to-watch – check out the list below for our new New York style crushes.
MADE partner and headliner Public School NYC is an actual agent for sustainability. Company founders Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne spread their commitment to ethical fashion through their myriad of collaborations with emerging designers, where they play both student and teacher in the process. Based on practices of refashioning vintage and salvaging surplus fabrics, PSNY is the champion of sleek, sustainable streetwear collab collections. All about supporting and promoting new talent, their success in these endeavours only fuels the need to keep inspiring others and look good doing it.
Definitive proof that chic is not boring (sorry Fleabag). Kingsley Gbadegesin founded his eponymous line K.INGSEY as a means for reclaiming and redefining the Black, Queer, Femme body through fashion. The brand was one of three featured in the event’s epic runway show, and we are so glad for that. If striking a perfect balance between elegance and edge is the modus operandi of the clothes (perhaps thanks to their creator’s years spent with the likes of Celine, Versace and Leowe), then the raison d’être is to uplift communities by pushing boundaries and building tangible, authentic connections.
Mia Vesper continues to dazzle us – hers is quite possibly the most glamorous upcycle venture you’ll ever see. The whole marketplace space glittered – sparkles from the Plissé line twinkling in the glow of an LED butterfly floating overhead. Also on show was Mia’s Tapestry Collection, comprised of plush, jewel-tone velvet jackets and luxuriously woven bottoms. The namesake founder is fiercely committed to sustainability, and has a knack for finding only the most lavish deadstock fabrics – things like vintage Italian wedding blankets and Turkish tapestries. The clothes are fit for a queen – literally, Beyoncé placed an order for 61 pieces.
Co-founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, Studio 189 works with artisanal women in Ghana to produce African and African-inspired content and clothing. The sumptuous, vibrant clothes are regenerative fashion at its best. Made from certified organic cotton grown in Burkina Faso, dried grass from Ghana, silk from Italy, and recycled fabrics made from glass, the dazzling colors are the product of natural local dyes like indigo and anatto. Their collaborations with artisanal communities who specialize in various traditional craftsmanship techniques mean that each garment is made with care and to last.
Bed On Water’s 2022 collection fuses founder Shanel Campbell’s two passions – fashion and painting. Over the pandemic, the interdisciplinary designer shifted her focus towards the latter, creating an impressive compilation of works flush with swirls of rich crimson and glowing turquoise hues. In true circular nature, she fused the paintings back into her fashion practice when she transferred the designs onto body-hugging velvet tees – the ‘print paints’ were also on display at the marketplace. This perfect fusion of fashion with art is probably what nabbed the design house a spot in the main runway event.
We were blown away by When Smoke Clears’ runway appearance. The brand was founded in 2016, on a mission to express admiration for those who consider America a second home. Fittingly, the clothes are a celebration of harmony between unlikely matches – the solid, vivid yellows stand in perfect dramatic opposition to details like chain link netting and lapis lazuli hued stones. WSC also made an appearance at the marketplace with their ready-to-wear line, which features simple but sophisticated cotton t-shirts decorated with a signature heart-shaped embroidery – the most stylish way to wear it on your sleeve.
If MADE x PayPal is all about empowering emerging talent in the NYC fashion and culture scene, then Sincerely, Tommy definitely understood the assignment. The marketspace featured products from several of the in-store brands the Brooklyn based enterprise collaborates with year round, like the stylish, sustainable and / or reworked secondhand pieces from @urbnrewrrk, @nappyhead_club, and @sarepandrose – all celebrations of Black owned and women owned business. We’re also forever grateful to S, T for introducing us to @bklynbarsoap – see our next pick for more details.
Ok, so this is technically beauty and not fashion, but because the two inspire one another, Bklyn Bar Soap gets a shout out. We’re VERY into bar soap, not only because it eliminates wasteful packaging but also the smells are just next level. A success story in cutting through all the industry noise, the brand embraces the better quality, lesser quantity ethos with responsibly sourced skin superfoods like NKM favorite seamoss and aloe.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and we’re in absolute awe of each and every participant from the past weekend. Check out more highlights from @made – forever grateful to the organizers for bringing this experience to us and doing what they do. We can’t wait to see what they come up with next year!
-BY Steph Lawson
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