New York Fashion Week was one big ‘after’ party

It is a game of endurance, endurance and ferocity. Intel is necessary to survive, and your uniform determines your worth. Opposition often sits at the intersection of brand awareness and traditional business. Welcome – back – to New York Fashion Week, where the world converged on the most iconic city – the one that never sleeps – that refused to close its eyes for an entire week.

New York Fashion Week was lively this season. Looks from the Spring/Summer 2023 collections circled the city and events unfolded around the clock. The city was engulfed in fashion and celebrities, and with the most seriousness came the nightlife. Many brands doubled down on their runway experiences for the world to see, but New Yorkers were also aware of a series of after-parties hosted by their favorite designers.

If you know – then you knew – which shows to attend and which after-parties would complement the tracks. Apart from models, who are ubiquitous in fashion, New York Fashion Week hosted many talented musicians like Doja Cat, Fivio Foreign, Latto, Skepta, Lil Nas X and Remy Ma, who participated in the Sprayground show. Musical artists Diplo and G-Eazy were happily spinning tunes at some of the after parties.

Also on the catwalk were athletes like Kyle Kuzma and Olympian Usain Bolt, who both took part in the Puma fashion show at Wall Street’s famed Cipriani restaurant. Also seen at shows and events were NBA All-Stars Jordan Clarkson, Serge Ibaka, Ben Simmons, PJ Tucker and Russell Westbrook, who has his own fashion line titled Honor The Gift.

The streets of New York were alive with an energy that had once faded since this fashion week. VFILES collaborated with Jaded London on a 3-day pop-up at 12 Mercer Street, and to commemorate the shop they threw a party at the PUBLIC Hotel, with music played by notable and fashionable DJs Siobhan Bell , Angel and Dren and Zack Bia , to name a few. The dandies of the fashion world were also present, including Matthew Williams of Givenchy and Asap Nast, recently featured in Lacoste campaigns.

A collaboration between the streetwear brand Guizio and denim brand Levi’s hosted a Belvedere Vodka-sponsored party at Capitale, located on Bowery Street, bringing out a city full of enthusiastic fashion-lovers. The Guizio x Levi’s fashion collaboration was the culmination of streetwear and a renewed connection to fashion and the cultures it spawns. Although it rained on that Sunday evening of September 11 – halfway through fashion week – many would be bouncing from one after-party to the next.

Who decides the war, one of New York’s leading streetwear brands, would hold their runway show earlier in the day and hold their after-party the same night as Guizio x Levis at The Standard Hotel, East Village. Attendees tossed in and out of the skyscraper hotel in Lower Manhattan as guests like actor Kendrick Sampson and Grammy-winning entertainer Burna Boy made their way through the crowds.

Other guests included Kirby Jean-Raymond, founder of Pyer Moss, Maxwell Osborne of PublicSchool, musical artists Brent Faiyaz and model Luka Sabbat, as New Yorkers thronged the doors with growing numbers of revelers. Models and special guests wore looks selected by designers who walked the runway during this fashion week. It’s a field test for fashion at these after-parties, with everyone looking stylish for the cameras.

On Tuesday, September 13, Puma hosted a star-studded fashion show with an even more eclectic guest list coming to see their creative effort titled FUTROGRADE, led by creative director and celebrity stylist June Ambrose. The after-party converted the same FUTROGRADE floor into a dance floor. A performance by Skepta enveloped the night in a mood of concentrated pleasure, exuded by dance moves and libations.

That same night, New York native and global nightlife curator Richie Akiva, who hosted the Puma FUTROGRADE after-party, would host an “after” party at the hotel’s new hotspot, The Ned NoMad. As the new programming director of The Ned, Akiva assembles an elite guest list which included models Imaan, Winnie Harlow and Jasmine Sanders and host celebrities like Christian Combs, Justine Sky, Latto who hosted the evening from Flaunt magazine, fashion designer Rhude Rhuigi Villasenor, and actor Jared Leto in a total Gucci look.

New to the scene were brands like When the smoke clears host an arts and crafts themed party at the Public Hotel’s Bar Chrystie. The same evening, Midnight Studios by Shane Gonzales presented his “And Love Said No” show, a collection in collaboration with the iconic gothic rock band HIM

Goth style was prevalent not just on the Midnight Studios runway, but even more so at its after-party, where the low ceiling and disco ball in the rue Lafeyette lounge reflected an exclusivity that had long been part of the essence of fashion.

In an incognito scene, celebrities like athlete Jordan Clarkson and musical artists Brent Faiyaz and Lancey Foux slipped into the Midnight Studios after-party unnoticed. There, G-Eazy would hop onto the decks to play some of his hit songs and other popular hip hop tracks from fellow rappers. Once G-Eazy retired from his set, DJs like Odalys, Jordy Spice, and designer Shane Gonzales who goes by the name DJ Shaneaveliimmersed in house music to keep the party going.

As much as fashion shows were the reason to land in New York and be diligent about your itinerary this week, after-parties brought the city to life in a way that recalled the essence of night life. It goes with the aura of fashion.

A lot of talent is here in New York, and Fashion Week highlights that in a way that gives access to fashion designers and others who choose to participate in fashion for a chance to thrive. What is not given is earned, and the exclusivity of the “after-party” is perhaps more accessible to this generation. Evident in the number of parties held – a key element in bringing the fashion community together – it was a sign of the access fashion provides to its communities and cultures that appreciate craftsmanship.

Joseph K. Bennett