Designer Willy Chavarria doesn’t hide his political references up his sleeve. Rather he’s known for putting them front-and-center on his garments. His latest collection, “BELIEVERS,” is inspired by the need to create real connection and interaction in an age rife with digital ones.
The clothing almost took a backseat to the casting, which included a one-armed model walking the runway in an oversized pair of workwear trousers, and the final look consisting of a tattooed, buff model carrying his own daughter down the catwalk.
Graphics included a Ralph Lauren-inspired Polo Sport flip, with the USA flag turned upside down — a common symbol of a nation in distress. Hard-wearing garments and accessories like gloves and water bottles made references to sanctuary cities and relief counseling—something appropriate for the everyday crises of a post-Trump America.
Meanwhile, prison uniforms were exaggerated and juxtaposed with collaborative jewelry made in conjunction with CHRISHABANA. It includes illicit accessories like a gold switchblade and a small cocaine spoon.
The designer says in his press release that he “embraces looks of middle America and the working class as a way to express a romantic notion of American realness lost in a somber corporatocracy.”
Here, the large proportions weren’t a statement about trend, but a statement about protection and comfort. It’s easy to feel invincible if you can disappear into a large leather bomber jacket or oversized denim parka. Chavarria’s color story remained in muted tones of black, gray, and indigo—eliciting an overall funereal mood in line with the serious tone of the show.
That isn’t to say there isn’t any hope in this collection. Rather, Chavarria’s atypical casting choices and the inclusion of baby both symbolize the complicated reality of intersectional activism, as well as bringing in a literal representation of the next generation that all left-leaning protestors are fighting for.
For more NYFW:M goodness, check out the latest collection from Ovadia & Sons.
- Photography: Bryan Luna