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How Commando became NYFW’s most popular collaborator
Commando has had a presence at New York Fashion Week since 2009, when Erin Fetherston reached out to request underwear for a show. Jill Stuart and Milly’s Michelle Smith soon followed suit, kicking off a trend that came to cement Commando as the event’s unofficial underwear partner.
Fourteen later, the trend is still going strong. As of January 31, based on designer requests, Commando was planning to supply underthings for eight shows this season. Founder and CEO Kerry O’Brien declined to disclose which shows at the time, but designers’ Instagram tags have since provided answers. The brand has so far been featured on the fall 2023 runways of Proenza Schouler and Sergio Hudson, among others.
Among trends in designers’ requests for this season are sheer and opaque hosiery, as well as mesh tops. The fact that designers are turning to Commando for wardrobe staples, in addition to underwear, reinforces its ongoing expansion into ready-to-wear, O’Brien said.
According to O’Brien, as a CFDA member, she considers it a service to supply designers with hosiery, nude thongs and other basics. Commando even creates custom styles for designers to match the colors and patterns in their collections — it’s done so for Rodarte and Tracy Reese, among others. Many designers show their appreciation by crediting Commando in their show program, tagging it on social media or gifting seats to their show. As with influencers and celebrities, Commando has never paid designers to incorporate its styles, O’Brien said.
Commando initiates many of these partnerships, reaching out to every designer to offer up its styles about two months before seasonal fashion weeks begin. In addition, the brand receives inbound requests from designers, with notice ranging from two days to two months.
O’Brien said playing a role in New York Fashion Week has continued to inspire and excite her, and it also motivates Commando’s employees, retail and manufacturing partners, and customers. As such, the brand recently ran an Instagram campaign centered on designers’ quotes about why they choose the brand.
“When I design something, I consider how it feels, fits and looks, in that order,” O’Brien said. That it shows up in fashion shows and on celebrities is the icing on the cake and a “point of pride,” she said.
Inside Robert Rodriguez’s NYFW-based fashion return
After leading a namesake fashion label for 16 years and subsequently serving as Halston’s chief creative officer, designer Robert Rodriguez is kicking off the next chapter of his career with a New York Fashion Week presentation on Tuesday. The show will introduce Koltson, his high-end eveningwear brand that will center on seasonal collections with rotating artist collaborators.
Just seven months in the making, Koltson represents Rodriguez’s passions, he said – namely, creating beautiful clothes and supporting the art world. His collaborators for fall 2023 include illustrator Pepe Muñoz, who he discovered on Instagram and will be making corresponding social media content; abstract expressionist Vicky Barranguet, who incorporated Koltson’s fall color story in a series of paintings that will be displayed at the presentation; and New York-based ateliers, including Geri Gerard.
Rodriguez said he feels honored that Koltson has placement on the season’s official fashion calendar, as many new brands don’t have the privilege. And, he said, he plans to show every season, based on the brand’s mission of bolstering its collaborators.
Mirroring his newfound passion for collaboration, Rodriguez said his aim for Koltson’s first show is to bring people together. Among those expected to attend are retailers, influencers, musicians and artists. He’s also eager to show off what he’s been working on, after regaining his creative freedom post-Halston. For now, the Koltson brand is solely made up of Rodrguez and his assistant, plus four atelier partners.
Moving forward, Rodriguez said the brand will remain “exclusive,” with pieces selling at a “designer price point” of $1,200-$5,000. The strategy is somewhat surprising, considering the industry’s current prioritization of inclusivity, not to mention the state of the economy. But according to Rodriguez, “Women will always invest in something that makes them feel happy.”
He added, “I want to create a connection between the product and the consumer, based on the design and story behind it.” As such, he plans to bring the collection to consumers via intimate trunk shows. He’ll start with a focus on New York and select markets in the South.
3 Questions With Designer Vivienne Tam
Ahead of her fall 2023 runway show on Sunday evening, designer Vivienne Tam spoke with Glossy about how she’s evolving her 29-year-old namesake brand.
How has the pandemic transformed your business?
“Being in Hong Kong during the lockdown, I used the time to reinvent my brand, exploring new and inventive pathways that I haven’t tapped into before. I started looking into the metaverse and web3, and became inspired [by the idea of leveraging] the new creative space to grow my business without limitations. That brought me new opportunities and exciting transformations, which are now being reflected in my collections.”
How will we see that play out on today’s runway?
“With this show, I’m bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds. For the first time, my show will be held in physical and digital realms simultaneously, embracing the notion that the two worlds coexist equally and seamlessly. Live portals will allow guests to interact between the two worlds, breaking the fourth wall and paving the way for our brand’s future innovation.”
How does web3 benefit your brand? “By bridging the gap between worlds, my ultimate hope is to create an experience that truly brings communities together. [And overall] web3 can energize the fashion space by bringing creativity and culture to avenues not widely explored.”