14 Feminist Designers To Watch This New York Fashion Week

by Bri Kane


New York Fashion Week is here, and the circus can just take a seat because I’d rather watch a runway than a dancing bear any day. Designers and retailers alike have begun to open their eyes to the outside world. Shocking as it may be, not everyone is white, under 20 years old, and thin! Here are some designers showing at this year’s New York Fashion Week to watch for feminist statements:

1) Alice & Olivia 

Tuesday, September 12th 11-1pm

alice and olivia tshirt

Photo via Aliceandolivia.com 

This brand made waves with political t-shirts emblazoned with “People are People” and “Be The Change You Wish To See In The World.” The bar is admittedly low for fashion designers, so statements calling for love and respect are seen as in-your-face political statements. Stacey Bendet, CEO of Alice & Olivia, told Forbes, “It’s less about politics and what side you’re on, and more about bringing the changes you wish to see to the world.” Hopefully, this feminine, shimmery line will bring a sparkle to our eye – the sparkle of feminism.

 Tuesday, September 12th 8pm


Photo from shop.barragannnn.com  

Gender lines, shemnder lines – BARRAGAN will no doubt remind us about the limits of gender lines in fashion, and how ridiculous they are. In various previous shows, BARRAGAN has been recognized for dressing male and female models in any sort of clothing they look great in, because a leather jacket and full tulle skirt look great, no matter your gender. 

3) Calvin Luo 
Tuesday, September 12th 6pm

calvin luo

Photo from calvinluo.us/profile 

This 22-year-old Chinese ex-pat is bringing androgyny to ready-to-wear – and thank goodness for that. His line started as unisex, and he’s been focusing on bringing a feminine influence into masculine clothing since then – all while keeping up the androgynous nature of his original line. Being so young, the future is bright and wide open for Luo — this NYFW, we should expect lots of bold genderfucking.


Friday, September 8th 4pm


Photo from chromat.co 

“Fuck Donald Trump” in bold letters on my shirt across my tits – that’s how I want to be remembered forever. Becca McCharen-Tran’s structural swimwear and athleisure line got everyone’s attention last year with its bold t-shirts (“Fuck Donald Trump”) and a DJ saying, “Fuck Donald Trump / Who Donald Trump / Fuck Donald Trump” over and over. No doubt this year will be no different, and I am here for any designer making slogan t-shirts with swears in them.

5) Cushnie Et Ochs 
Friday, September 8th 3pm

cushnie et ochs


Finishing their show with “The Future is Female” playing loudly over the speakers, and featuring boldly feminine outfits and “I’m a grown woman”-style makeup, designers Michelle Ochs and Carly Cushnie made a clear feminist statement. This duo will definitely remind us of our power this NYFW — and maybe give us a new feminist anthem to sing, too.

6) Hakan Akkaya
Monday, September 11th 2pm

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Photo from Flikr Creative Commons/ emrahozcan 

Fashion is finally waking up to the nonsense of gender roles — Hakan Akkaya put us all on blast last year by having a male model wear a burka on the runway. This Turkish designer is holding nothing back, and we’re all on the edge of our seats to see how he combines the feminine, the masculine, and the badass in his new spring line.

7) Jonathan Simkhai 
Saturday, September 9th 5pm

feminist af

Photo from jonathansimkhai.com 

Simkhai wasn’t holding anything back last year with his “feminist AF” tee – both wearing one himself and giving them away to attendees. Another designer whose focus is blending the feminine and masculine, his show last year was inspired by matadors’ uniforms and romantic corsetry – typical gendered fashion becoming one unisex dream. Simkhai will no doubt use this year’s show to bring more $95 feminist t-shirts on our radar.

8) Marchesa 

Wednesday, September 13th 4pm


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Photo from Flikr Creative Commons/ vintageetc 

Pretty in pink has a whole new meaning when fashionistas are wearing pink Planned Parenthood pins – both in the front row and on the runway. Karen Craig and Georgina Chapman are the brains behind Marchesa; Chapman told The New Yorker, “You can’t complain unless you participate,” which was clearly the ethos of their show last year. Marchesa is known for its hyper-feminine couture eveningwear, and superstars like Jennifer Lopez and Penelope Cruz have worn Marchesa on the red carpet to plenty of praise. So if you’re not sure what to wear to your next protest, why not make it a floor-length ball gown with a Planned Parenthood broach?

9) Namilia

Saturday, September 9th 9pm

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Photo from Flikr Creative Commons/ Manny Llanura 

Nan Li and Emilia Pfohl of Namilia are not shy of the f word: FEMINIST. Telling V magazine about their inspiration, they explain, “It’s really about girl power, feminism, and what feminism means nowadays for younger people.” Their dedication to the power of youth and the use of fashion in rebellion is seen throughout their line. No doubt this year their show will be feminist AF and remind of us of the unstoppable power of young girls.

10) Philip Plein 
Saturday, September 9th 9pm

Photo from plein.com 

Plein’s in-your-face designs and bold color choices have gotten this designer lots of press. Last year, he turned plenty of heads by hving Julie Macklowe wearing a bright pink trucker hat that said “Grab ‘Em by the Pussy” greet guests. The show presented patriotism as anti-Trump ideology, so given the political climate we all suffer through now, we expect he will remind us all again that fashion is a dark blue world.

11) Prabal Gurung 

Sunday, September 10th 7pm

prabal gurung

Photo from prabalgurung.com 

Walking down the runway with Hillary Clinton’s former campaign co-chair and tons of feminist slogan t-shirts is one way to bring feminism to fashion – but Prabal Gurung isn’t shy of statement pieces. With t-shirts reading “The Future is Female” and “Nevertheless She Persisted,” and even wearing one himself that said, “This is what a feminist looks like,” Prabal Gurung wasn’t holding his political understandings back. He has been politically vocal in the past, so it seems safe to assume his NYFW show this year will be memorable.

12) Tanya Taylor 
Sunday, September 10th 4pm

Tanya Taylor

Photo from tanyataylor.com 

Last year, Tanya Taylor got everyone’s attention by handing out pink magnets that read “Fashion Stands with Planned Parenthood.” Anna Wintour wore a pin reading the same message. Taylor has dressed Michelle Obama – so really, hasn’t she peaked already? Her feminine, floral, and fun brand should be a showstopper this year – and hopefully with more feminist magnets!


13) TOME 
Sunday, September 10th 12-1pm


Photo from tomenyc.com 

Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin, creative directors of TOME, were inspired by the Women’s March on Washington, which was evident with their models wearing “Stand With Planned Parenthood” pins down the runway. Lobo told Vogue, “no matter whether you’re a fashion designer or an activist… make a statement and speak whenever you have the opportunity.” Which they did with references not only to Planned Parenthood, but also to the Guerilla Girls, the badass international all-female art group that fights for women’s rights. Hopefully this year won’t disappoint, and we’ll see more ready-to-wear pieces and ready to riot gear.

14) Torrid 
Tuesday, September 12th 1pm



Photo from torrid.com

Only the second time they’ve been in NYFW, Torrid will almost certainly make a splash this year. Known for their ready-too-wear plus-size clothes and intimates, Torrid is already causing waves by having their third annual Model Search – expanding the world of fashion to us mere mortals. As one of the few plus-size brands at NYFW, Torrid has remained loyal to their goal of “show great fashion combined with body positivity and inclusivity.”

Top photo via jonathansimkhai.com 


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