– By Hemant Persaud

We kicked off men’s fashion week with the New York Men’s Day showcase featuring Agent, Bristol Studio, David Hart, HBNS, Krammer & Stoudt, and Limitato, followed by an afternoon showcase with Descendant of Thieves, Sundae School, Taakk, This is Sweden, and Vanessa Zhang. We also made our way to a few shows during the day to see Ricardo Seco, Carlos Campos, and Willy Chavarria.

Terrence Williams and Joshua Fronda of AGENT had the emo aesthetic going on. HBNS’ designer, Akio Mitobe, featured denim in a few ways: tye-die denim, peacoat denim, and denim with sequins and paint splatter, honing in on the Americana look with his Japanese perspective. Limitato made wearable art that threw us back to the whole bad boy band vibes with t-shirts featuring Prince, Marilyn Monroe, and seductive lips. While these designers were giving us all the lewks, immigration was at the forefront of the inspirations of some of the other collections.

There was a clear message: designers are always aware of our current political climate and know how to make their clothing into conversation starters circumventing the political. Chavarria, Seco, and a few of the Men’s Day designers were inspired by immigration and the realities of what immigrants face today.

Pablo Londono of This is Sweden, found the inspiration behind his collection around his own experience as a refugee with his sister, Ana, who is also a co-founder with him. They were two kids who came from Columbia and fled to Sweden. He wanted to showcase diversity and “what we want to have in the future, [us] seeing this as as a tool for activism and change, to resist what is going on. And that is what this collection is all about, we are challenging what is a fashion brand,” said Londono.

Ricardo Seco featured clothing with the words “POWER” and “INMIGRANTE” which explains how much immigrants are empowering the world and changing the way we bridge activism with fashion. Later in the evening, Willy Chavarria gave us voluminous, sporty looks, ‘just the way they like it,’ according to his website. It was all about putting the message of immigration at the forefront in order to spread the activism.

The people who can really make the changes are those who have the power and the voice, and like these designers on day one, they have shown us how much they are using their voices to empower, not to discourage.