Afterpay launched its fourth season as principal partner of NYFW with a focus on the future of our industry and a student-centered event held in the Xperience Center of Spring Studios. Afterpay with IMG invited NYC fashion students from a selection of local schools to participate in a live, interactive workshop with young designer Colin LoCascio known for his hip Gen Z clientele.
Students from Fashion Institute of Technology, High School of Fashion Industries, and Parsons School of Design were invited to reimagine the fashion industry by creating a sustainable look using deadstock fabric from LoCascio’s upcoming Spring/Summer 2023 line. These next gen designers recreated LoCascio’s signature floral appliques, the final results of which would be added to a LoCascio original design to be put on display at the Afterpay Xperience. Said Afterpay in a statement, “Ultimately, we want to showcase the beauty, innovation, and opportunities in sustainable fashion while nurturing and amplifying the next generation of designers.”
While NYFW shows were being held in other parts of Spring Studios, the Xperience Center space was closed off to allow the young designers to interact organically and naturally without distractions. Fashionuinited spoke to LoCascio just before he began the workshop, and 3 days before he was due to show his highly anticipated runway collection, about why he wanted to be involved in the event.
Vision of inclusivity for future at Afterpay NYFW workshop
“When Afterpay and IMG reached out and explained their initiative and that their goal behind their work in New York Fashion Week was about making it more inclusive and opening it up, it felt like a really beautiful marriage,” said Lo Cascio who made several mentions of size inclusivity during our chat, and who believes that only through partnerships like this and integrating technology in fashion will the industry really make improvements.
“I grew up in Queens and I’ve always ran parallel to New York Fashion Week but was never involved in it,” said LoCascio who says he has been overwhelmed by editors requesting invites to his first show and buyers’ emails. After graduating from Rhode Island School of Design LoCascio worked on runway designs at Marc Jacobs and at a few other brands but it was as Design Director of the Kardashian sisters’ line Kendall + Kylie, a job he held for close to 3 years, that he gained the most practical knowledge that he now pours into his own brand.
“It’s more mass market but while there I really understood production, fit and how a business operates,” said LoCascio. “They don’t play around, they are businesswomen.”
Given the nature of the event we asked LoCascio if he had any advice for young people who want to enter the fashion industry and he was pretty clear on one point: “It’s pretty cliché but really stay true to yourself. On social media there’s so much temptation to compare yourself––I do it too with other designers when I see a show online––but it’s important to remember that your vision, creativity, individuality is what is going to set you apart.”
He reveals that all the pieces that have received the most press or have been pulled by his growing roster of celebrity clients such as Cardi B, Miley Cyrus or Bella Hadid have been ones that were entirely unique, designed from his personal point of view, without reference to anyone else and that couldn’t be found anywhere else. “Don’t try to conform,” he said. “I know this is tough at the beginning because there’s a lot of rejection but in my case that’s what landed me in New York Fashion Week.”
And with that we left him to join his co-host Rossi who was playfully twirling, wearing a Lo Cascio velvet puffa jacket scattered with big sequined daisies while a roomful of students wielding scissors at paper patterns of flowers awaited the designer’s instruction.