Rachel Comey Gets Fashion
What is the job of the fashion designer?
If Rachel Comey's Spring 2017 collection left me with a single takeaway, it is this: perhaps rather than serving as a vehicle for total escapism (think couture ball gowns transporting you somewhere else) perhaps the task of a fashion designer is to make you feel more excited and inspired to be right where you are. If that's the case, then Rachel Comey knows what's up and her most recent collection, which simultaneously marked the 15th anniversary of her eponymous New York City-based label, is proof.
The show took place on the sidewalk outside her Crosby Street flagship store in SOHO. Sidewalk as actual runway rather than as metaphor allowed the clothing to be interpreted as made for the real rather than for the abstract, which is a powerful message in an industry that has historically traded in fantasy. Her presentation is also notable for infusing a wider definition of beauty in a fashion show at a time when the industry is struggling to expand its normative sense of what is beautiful, and who should be represented in the fashion images we see.
I admire Rachel Comey for a few reasons. In an era of big fashion conglomerates, she has managed to keep her label independent. On the sustainability front, although she isn't loud about it, Comey is thoughtful about sourcing, supporting local manufacturing, promoting artisanship, and considering animal welfare. I'll add this collection, and its presentation, to that list.