This content is not available in your region

New York, fashion and clichés

New York, fashion and clichés
Text size Aa Aa

So I’m off to New York! Everything is settled and all I have to do is get on the plane. Lyon-London-New York. The kind of straightforward trip I enjoy with an awesome flight over the North Atlantic ice sheet. And then the news bulletin: “… east coast of the US braces for snowstorm Nemo…”. It’s like the end of the world. Airports are frozen, planes grounded, cities paralysed. Why me? Filled with dread, I go to the check-in. A friendly hostess hands me my tickets, with New York written all over them. Really? She puts my mind at ease: “Everything is fine, no delays”. Relieved, I curse my fellow journalists and fly off to the Big Apple.

How can you describe New York without falling into clichés? How do you describe New York full stop?

The reason for my being here is the Fashion Week. The heart of the event lies right before us, the Lincoln Center, just round the corner from Central Park. A huge logo advertising a German car-maker gives the tone. It’s a hub of eccentricity, a place to be seen, at any cost. But the heart of the matter is elsewhere: every year, Americans spend more than 300 billion dollars on clothes.

A huge economic impact with a huge carbon footprint. And that is why we are here, to meet a new brand of “eco fashion” designers. They are still few and far between. We start with the founders of Loomstate in Soho, who use organic and innovative materials. Then we meet the young creator of 100%NY in his Brooklyn atelier, a designer who uses every bit of material in his creations. And finally, we meet Nimet for Soham Dave, who works with Indian artisans using traditional methods. Though their products are very different, they all agree on one point: it’s all about design, and it’s got to be the best. The sustainable clothing aspect offers added value, but is not a selling point.

People are always in a rush here. I speed up on my way back to the hotel. I can’t miss my plane. And then, on 53rd Street, I see them, just before me: those four letters. I look at my watch. Should I? I look at my watch again, I think about the time I have left, and I step inside the Moma. I’ll just do one gallery. Okay, so I do two or three. But I never went beyond the 1920’s. A true concentrate of “design” which never ages. Another cliché, I know… But only on show in New York City.

Philippe Mathieu