Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Just as New York Fashion Week wraps up, another big fashion preview is blowing into town. Capsule, the tradeshow dedicated to emerging and independent designers, is running its women's ready-to-wear show from Thursday, September 17th to Saturday, September 19th at Pier 94.
The industry event attracts buyers from some of the most progressive retailers looking to fill their racks with fresh talent (and restock cult favorites). There are dozens of cool, young lines to parse, including a dedicated Racked Young Guns section, highlighting finalists from our annual talent hunt.
To pare down the massive list of brands, we've called out a dozen designers whose new work we're most excited to check out (including, of course, our Young Guns). Even if you're not attending the show, get a leg up on what will be filtering into the best stores around the world with our list below.
We named this LA line one of the most exciting brands in denim earlier this year, and we're stoked they'll be growing their reach at Capsule. Forward-thinking boutiques like Assembly, Personnel of New York, and Opening Ceremony have already begun stocking pieces from the collection, which consistently delivers progressive silhouettes.
Artemis Design Co.
This Boston-based brand gives classic accessory shapes like duffle bags and loafers are given a texture-rich update. Designer Milicent Armstrong uses fabrics from around the world to enhance timeless silhouettes for an end result that's worldly, but polished.
There's a lot of talk of the words "ease" and "relaxed" in fashion right now — Atelier Delphine actually does them justice. In natural fabrics sourced from around the world, the LA-based brand delivers on loosened-up aesthetics with smart proportions that are actually flattering (yes, even in a sack dress).
"I think there's room for a more minimal European approach to New York contemporary design," says 2015 Racked Young Gun Chelsea Goldman, whose resumé fittingly includes time under Phoebe Philo at Céline. Goldman creates architectural but wearable separates and dresses, and already counts In Support Of, Swords-Smith, and Opening Ceremony among her stockists.
When we saw David Michael's modern take on suiting we had to include him in our Young Guns portfolio. Suiting can be a real bummer of a category, but Michael — who, amazingly, doesn't have formal training — breathes life into it with smartly-altered proportions that aren't too wack-o for an actual office.
The square-toed sling-back 'Honcho' style from this LA footwear brand was everywhere this summer. With similarly bold, but wearable, styles priced around $200, we expect this line to blow up even further (Nasty Gal, Urban Outfitters, Oak, and Acrimony have already bitten).
This Copenhagen-based brand has been around since 2006, but has really been picking up steam lately. Pieces are trend-right and priced on the lower end of contemporary, spanning pretty much every category: jackets, knits, bags, and so on.
Krewe du Optic
This New Orleans-based optical label has been on our radar since last summer (fun fact: it's the South's only eyewear company). The speckled frames are made of Italian acetate and they feature lightweight lenses, which you notice when you pick them up, put them on, and feel — nothing. Founder Stirling Barrett has a fine art background, which is evident in his line's pleasing color combinations.
Made by Dawn
Made by Dawn's swimwear was impossible to ignore this summer, popping up everywhere from Free People and Nasty Gal to Need Supply Co. and ABC Home. The pieces are femme but not frilly, with a '90s love child-impersonator vibe: high-neck tops, fuchsia tie-dye effects, and textural jacquards.
We love the mix of materials used in this year-old New York line. The designers have roots in finance (surprising, but useful) and styling (less surprising, also useful), and put out pieces worthy of special occasions that can also be mixed into the everyday.
Launched in 2013, this unisex bag line made us double-take when we realized pretty much all of the sharp styles are convertible. Backpacks become shoulder bags, duffles shrink to fit overhead compartments, dopp kits expand and contract as needed. You've probably noticed the theme here: travel goods that are equal parts intelligent and beautiful.
Wal & Pai
We first happened upon this made-in-LA footwear line at Capsule last year, showing its very first season. The graphic shoes in quality leathers are hard to ignore — Totokaelo, Need Supply Co., and Anthom all took note. With two seasons under its belt, we can't wait to see what the growing brand has in store next.