A new era has arrived to New York Fashion Week.
As the highly recognized New York runway shows neared, many were surprised to hear that staple designers would not be showing this season.
Designers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Altuzarra, and Rodarte stepped away from the New York runway to show in London, Paris, or even create their own LA fashion week event.
This exodus offered a new set of designers the opportunity to present on the New York platform.
Given current events, the significance of highlighting a diverse group of talent was a must this season – NYFW became the safe haven for global designers.
This season, IMG introduced a brand new concept entitled NYFW: First Stage opening doors for global designers.
This new platform offered designers the opportunity to show at NYFW, whether debuting their lines for the first time or making connections to further their presence in the U.S. market.
This platform would become the sole chance for Vaishali S, Runa Ray, and Cindy Monteiro to exhibit the power of global women in fashion.

photos by Micheline Michaelina

Mumbai-based designer, Vaishali S, was among some of the international designers that let their culture translate into their designs.
By using her homeland of India as inspiration, Vaishali S created a line using native, natural materials.
Strategically playing on her strengths of observing, and listening, Vaishali S let her aesthetic pave the way for audience members to take in her culture.
The First Stage platform allowed the designer’s vision of bringing India’s traditional weaving techniques to the forefront.
While this was the first NYFW for Vaishali S, she has already left her mark on FDCI (Amazon/Wills) Fashion Week, and New Delhi and Lakme Fashion Week. 

Runway and video by Karen Sterling

Born and raised in India, Runa Ray brought a taste of her culture to NYFW this season.
Breaking barriers and exhibiting the eco-friendly Imagine collection,she created the perfect recipe for her SS18 showcase.
Runa Ray’s journey into fashion started at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (India).
It provided her the opportunity to eventually work alongside John Galliano and the House of Dior, all in hopes to one day show her own collection at New York Fashion Week.
Runa Ray subemerged us into her collection and reminded us that “fashion can be a powerful tool to educate and push people to join in saving and preserving our planet.”

Photos by Marisa Pena

Cindy Monteiro was the surprise of fashion week.
At just 27 years old, she dared to bring her perspective of fashion and style to the U.S market from Cape Verde.
She was fearless in presenting a collection based on bridging the gap between the character of women and nature and unifying the concept of nature vs. nurture.
Cindy focused on natural fibers and materials, like weaving plant leaves into a corset, to bring to life a collection she had only every imagined, like weaving plant leaves into a corset.
This unique aesthetic comes from her time growing up between Switzerland and Cape Verde, and the constant reminder of her roots.
While NYFW may be losing its staple industry names, a new era is ready to emerge.
Cultural enrichment, eco-friendly fashion, and empowerment are at the forefront of these designer’s vision.
We can’t wait to see what they have in store for next season.



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