In the spirit of celebrating fashion's impact, we asked some of our favorite designers who they see as having a visionary view of style today — and tomorrow.
Fashion is often considered frivolous, something to be looked at and nothing more. But that supposition ignores the power of clothes to leave a lasting impact. For centuries, it's been a way that our history is told, each decade marked by the trends and styles created by talented designers worldwide. From the royal dressmakers in the 18th century, using gowns to mark moments in time, to the designers of the 1990s who gave us an era of culture that included iconic supermodels, fashion is a view of the world at a moment in time, interpreted by some of the most creative people in the world.
They are the visionaries of the past, the present, and the future. They define what the culture looks like and how we will be remembered. The clothes they make aren't just meant to be worn; they are meant to visually narrate our lives.
Like any other art form, some came before, and others will come after. In the spirit of celebrating fashion's impact, we asked some of our favorite designers who they see as having a visionary view of style today — and tomorrow.
Tanya Taylor is a brand that has put women first. Of course, most fashion brands are worn by women, but she has embraced color and individuality in a way that the industry at large rejects. She sees other designers who take the same approach of celebrating people through clothing as the future of fashion.
Who are the designers you are excited about right now?
What specific needs or goals for the future fashion do they fulfill?
I've always believed that the future of fashion is inclusive, and I'm so proud that both Henry and Nyla, each in their own special way, have also made it their mission to make everyone feel like they belong in fashion. Zankov uses art, color, and pattern to create uncomplicated, special, genderful knitwear pieces, while Nyla is adding an unexpected twist to traditional techniques, inspiring everyone to embrace their identities. I'm looking forward to seeing how their creativity shines through each season.
Christian Siriano has been lauded for unapologetically making luxury for a wider range of sizes. It shouldn't be a question or even a visionary endeavor, but for too long, high-end fashion has not included plus size. For him, anyone building on what has been established as the norm is the future, and that includes some of his peers.
Who is the up-and-coming designer you are excited about, and why?
I think what everyone's really doing right now is just really exciting. I still think of me, Brandon [Maxwell], Prabal [Gurung], and [Joseph] Altuzarra as young designers even though we started in 2008. I think that it's so cool what we're all doing right now. Of course, there's still a place for the Calvins and the Ralphs of the world. But I think the Proenzas get to have their moment. We try not to take away from each other.
Mara Hoffman did a risky thing with her brand. In 2015, she stopped her production – creating huge collections season by season – despite the cost, so that she could prioritize the planet and people with her design. In the years since, she's become a champion for change in fashion, supporting legislation like New York’s Fashion Act and technology like sustainable fiber printing. To her, the next class of fashion visionaries are the ones who put change first.
Who is the up-and-coming designer you're excited about, and why?
I'm both excited and inspired by my friend Sarah Nsikak, founder of La Réunion. Not only is her work truly artful, but her focus on circularity and reducing waste is pivotal in her approach to design. La Réunion is truly slow fashion — which is essential for the future of fashion.
What specific goals for the future of fashion does the designer fulfill?
Designers need to be problem solvers. For a long time, designers weren't tasked with solutions; we were given free rein on ego and creation. But now we have a responsibility to solve problems and be strategically innovative, to join forces in rewriting fashion's impact.