A Night to Remember: CFDA Awards 2017

Throughout the years, attending The Fashion School at Kent State University has proven to be the best decision I’ve ever made. In my three years as a student, I have been presented with an incomparable education, passionate professors and a multitude of opportunities to emerge myself in the industry. The NYC Studio is one of Kent State’s most dignifying factors.

All thanks to the studio, I have been able to intern at the top luxury PR firm, Karla Otto, and NYLON, learn from working industry professionals, work New York Fashion Week and attend the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards. As Seth Meyers, this year’s host of the CFDA’s, would say, the CDFA Awards are considered the “Oscar’s of fashion”. He’s not wrong. I really explained it like that to my family and friends who had no clue why I was so thrilled to be attending some show titled with a mysterious acronym.

I sat in this ballroom surrounded by major industry leaders just thinking how lucky I am to have gotten to where I am today in just three shorts year. The amount of talent, drive and dedication in that one room held truly inspiring energy. What was even greater than the talent was the support. Even though there were awards to be given out, every person was there to support and celebrate each other’s talent. We’re all aware of the negatively catty stereotype surrounding our industry, but I have never met more uplifting and genuine spirits than those in the creative industries.

Of course, every CFDA Award Show is utterly groundbreaking, but I felt as this year really made an impact above and beyond the ordinary. The Board of Director’s Tribute honored Cecile Richards, Gloria Steinem and Janelle Monae’s incredible efforts for women’s rights and equality as a whole, which brought chills to the entire room. Kenneth Cole was also presented with the Swarovski Award for Positive Change for his noteworthy work with HIV and Aids. Upholding the legacy of Calvin Klein, Raf Simons was the first designer to win both Womenswear and Menswear Designer of the Year since Klein himself in 1993. Pat McGrath and Franca Sozzani were also honored for their work driving fashion towards innovative and acceptance for all.

The late Franca Sozzani worked as the editor in chief of Vogue Italia. Throughout her remarkable career, she had pushed the boundaries of fashion media for her time. Her issues of Vogue Italia had featured the first plus-size model on the cover as well as created the infamous July 2008 “All Black” issue. As someone who dreams of working as an editor, I have the utmost respect for the way she presented fashion as life and upheld the highest of standards for her magazine.

Many of the presenters served as an inspiration themselves. The infamous Anna Wintour, fashionista and girl boss Kerry Washington, style icon Nicole Kidman and the legendary Diane von Furstenberg all made appearances to honor the truly indescribable world of fashion.

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NYFW Makes a Statement

New York Fashion Week is always about making a statement- but this season went past just a daring fashion choice. The fashion industry reaches nearly every person on the planet (well besides nudists), so why not use such a powerful platform for the greater good?

Designers and influencers took note of this for NYFW AW17 to make a statement to society: whether it was about human rights, feminism or diversity. This season was host to the most models of plus sizes, ages above 50, and transgender. Even 30.3% of the models were of color. The CFDA set the tone before the week started by giving away pins saying “Fashion Stands with Planned Parenthood” to industry leaders and attendees to provide support and education on the benefits of Planned Parenthood. Mara Hoffman even invited the leaders of the Women’s March to speak prior to her show.

As the week continued, designers used their platforms to spread positive messages in their own unique ways. Christian Siriano, Prabal Gurung, and Jonathan Simkhai still featured gorgeous garments as well as groundbreaking slogan tees. The influence of the 1970’s was still prevalent this season with the use of extravagant furs, bold colors and meticulous detailing. Christian Siriano and Prabal Gurung closed their shows with slogan tees that left a statement in the mind of the attendees. “People are People” was the stand out at Christian Siriano while Prabal Gurung had an array like “Revolution Has No Borders” and “I Am an Immigrant”. Jonathan Simkhai highlighted his beautiful designs on the runway, but attendees left with t-shirts that said “Feminist AF”.

Another common theme was drawn from patriotism. Designers like Coach, Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs all drew inspiration from America. Coach and Marc Jacobs both channeled the old school, New York hip hop scene for their collections. Coach even took it a step further by combining influences of the wild west in the garments as well as using a prairie as the runway. Raf Simons utilized the classic red, white and blue for his runway debut for Calvin Klein. His statement was less obvious but still effective as he closed his show with David Bowie’s “This is Not America”.
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