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The New Vanguard of Fashion: Designers Setting Trends at NYFW 2023

Explore the fresh faces revolutionizing the runway at New York Fashion Week 2023. Our latest blog post unveils the designers championing innovation, cultural homage, and sustainability in this year's fashion frontier.
Sep 13, 2023

As NYFW unfolds, Airpals delves into the world of fashion and its cultural impact on our city. Working as a courier service in NYC for various fashion designers, runway production companies, and stylists, we've gained privileged insight into the dynamic nature of the industry and its influence on what is considered one of the world's fashion capitals.

Can you feel the electricity buzzing around the city? It’s the excitement and anticipation of this year’s New York Fashion Week (NYFW). The fashionista crowd is abuzz at every venue, Instagram feeds are updated by the minute with sneak peeks of shows, and alongside established names and big brands, a plethora of emerging designers are poised to make their indelible mark on fashion history. Each boasts a unique origin story and a design philosophy, elevating them from mere trendsetters to full-fledged culture-shapers. For starters, let’s spotlight some of these new designers.

Colin LoCascio

Many designers dream for years about dressing celebrities like Bella Hadid or Cardi B without ever realizing it. However, for Colin LoCascio, this narrative took a unique turn, one forged from hard work and dedication. Before launching his collection, LoCascio was already shaping couture behind the scenes for celebrities, all while maintaining a position at Marc Jacobs. His designs have showcased his unique flair, especially in some of their furs.

Educated in the Kardashian-Jenner school of branding and having served as the director of Kendall + Kylie, he speaks with a blend of sophistication and whimsy. "Let me tell you, they keep it tight," LoCascio says with a grin.

Drawing inspiration from the women of his home in Queens and the iconic Fran Drescher, best known as The Nanny in the popular sitcom and as the head of the actors guild, his collection is vibrantly eclectic. Think crochet cardigans adorned with mini amphibians, a nod to his childhood stuffed animal, Freddy the Frog. Themes like fireflies and carousels are made tangible through elaborate embellishments by the same manufacturer that works with Alexander McQueen. In LoCascio’s world, nostalgia and whimsical concepts merge with sophisticated silhouettes, creating wearable contradictions. Each piece tells a lively story, proving that fashion doesn’t always have to be serious.


Determined and impactful, Emma Gage, the genius behind Melke, had a transformative encounter at The Met with Betsey Johnson. This led her on a journey of self-discovery and experimentation, cementing her brand’s identity of celebration and playful individuality — encapsulated by six-sleeved tops inspired by the insect morphologies in the book "James and the Giant Peach." But don’t be misled by the playful aesthetics. Gage is a staunch advocate for ethical manufacturing and sustainability.

After gaining experience with Nina Tiari, Gage invested her Covid stimulus check into launching Melke. The brand’s name, inspired by her Midwestern pronunciation of "milk" and an inside joke among friends, now symbolizes ethical creativity and childlike wonder. The brand emphasizes more than just natural materials and chemical-free dyes. It delves into the human narrative, with fair working conditions as a hallmark, not an afterthought. These aren’t just clothes; they’re fragments of a story yearning to be shared.

Ayama Studio

Feeling like a novice but performing like a veteran, Maya J of Ayama Studio secured a spot on the NYFW's official calendar with just one fully realized collection to her name. The 29-year-old designer intertwines her personal journey with her creations. She takes pride in producing all her collections in New York's Garment District, honoring the local artisans who are the pillars of fashion and the keystones of renowned brands.

Her upcoming collection explores the confluence of masculine and feminine energies, debuting her first eveningwear, from spandex gowns to paneled outerwear. While Ayama Studio is described as "seasonless," each collection signifies a unique phase in her evolution as a designer. And even as a newcomer, her name hints at becoming iconic in the near future.


In our era of digital collection and relentless evolution, Zimo Yan brings a distinctive perspective to fashion. She envisions her label as a "documentary," striving to capture and immortalize vanishing Asian subcultures in tangible mediums. One of Yan's primary suppliers, a purveyor of 1990s-style pajamas that preserved authentic craftsmanship, has already shuttered since last season, underscoring the urgency of her mission.

Inspired by a real-life visit to Seoul's Dongmyo Flea Market, a cultural cornerstone and hub for bargains, her upcoming collection will be showcased in a basement venue. This is a tribute to her parents' generation's tendency to hoard. Yan's materials, though unconventional, are deeply anchored in the cultural narratives she seeks to preserve. From hand-crocheted creations by a grandmother model to the use of deadstock fabrics, Zimo's fashion statement acts as a reservoir for cultures teetering on the edge of obscurity.

These burgeoning designers represent more than just names to monitor. They personify the ongoing societal dialogues, cultures staking their claims, and the guiding principles that enrich the fashion tapestry with human emotion and innovative creativity. From LoCascio's nod to his native Queens to Yan's homage to fading traditions, they remind us that fashion, at its zenith, is a profound cultural expression.

So, when the lights dim and models grace the NYFW runway, remember: you're witnessing not just fashion, but history being forged. You have a front-row seat to this human tapestry.

In fashion, the saying goes, "One day you're in, and the next you're out." Yet, something hints that these designers are in it for the long run. They’re not just trendsetters; they're culture sculptors.

Fashion is a realm ripe with opportunities for those bold enough to seize them. Who knows? Next year, we might be discussing your runway debut and global influence. And remember, when you need dependable support transporting your collections, intricate equipment, or even the smallest elements for your grand photoshoot, we’ll have your back. Trust your instincts; your moment will come. Airpals will cheer you on and help you maintain your focus, supporting your journey to becoming the next stellar designer.