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Redefining Fashion: Ten Years of New York’s Experimental Scene

Beverly Semmes, Marigold 2022

In the heart of New York City, a scene unfolded, celebrating a decade of innovative fashion. At the Pratt Manhattan Gallery on 14th Street, “The New Village: Ten Years of New York Fashion” exhibition became the focal point for those seeking a different narrative within the city’s fashion landscape. The show, curated by Jennifer Minniti, Chair of Pratt Institute’s Fashion Department, and fashion curator Matthew Linde, aimed to spotlight an alternative history, diverging from the commercialism traditionally defining New York’s fashion industry.

The exhibition draws inspiration from the influential 1986 fashion exhibition, “The East Village,” curated by The Museum at FIT. Similar in spirit, “The New Village” brings together a diverse group of designers and artists who have reshaped New York’s fashion scene, re-establishing it as a hub for experimental and boundary-pushing fashion.

Reflecting on the inception of the exhibition, Minniti expressed a sentiment of a burgeoning community. “A few years ago I was talking to my creative partner, Beverly Semmes, and I said, ‘I just feel this community brewing again.’” she shared with Vogue. This sentiment catalyzed the vision for the exhibition. It showcases a myriad of designers characterized by their slightly rebellious approach to fashion.

The exhibition features works that challenge conventional notions of fashion, embracing a spectrum of styles and mediums. From Chris Peters’s CDLM project’s inventive combinations to Amanda McGowan and Mattie Barringer’s Women’s History Museum’s poignant statements, the exhibition encapsulates the ethos of experimentation and individuality. Further, conceptual works like Camilla Carper’s immersive installation add depth to the narrative, blurring the boundaries between fashion and art.

Guantlett Cheng, L | Camilla Carper, R

The exhibition crucially emphasizes the collaborative spirit and sense of community among the featured designers. Rather than focusing on a shared aesthetic coherence, the artists exhibit more structural and artistic behaviors in common. This emphasis on collaboration underscores the exhibition’s goal of reshaping New York Fashion Week from the periphery, challenging the prevailing emphasis on commercial viability.

The exhibition not only celebrates the individuality and innovation of these designers but also serves as a platform to address broader societal issues. Through garments, videos, sculptures, installations, and poetry, the artists amplify political and social challenges, redefining fashion as a medium for cultural messaging.

Left, Elena Velez corset top seen on the runway, right.

“The New Village: Ten Years of New York Fashion” exhibition is a testament to the vibrancy and diversity of New York’s fashion landscape. By showcasing the work of emerging and established designers alike, it presents an alternative narrative, one rooted in creativity, collaboration, and experimentation. As the exhibition continues until March 16, it invites viewers to engage with the rich tapestry of New York’s fashion scene and contemplate the transformative power of fashion as an art form.

Full List of Designers Include:
Bernadette Corporation x Supreme
Camilla Carper
Susan Cianciolo
Eckhaus Latta
Gauntlett Cheng
Giovanna Flores

Lou Dallas
Jessi Reaves
Section 8
Beverly Semmes + CarWash Collective
Martine Syms
Elena Velez
Women’s History Museum

–Katya Moorman

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