A week before Nicholas K presented its Fall 2017 fashion show, sister-and-brother design duo Nicholas and Christopher Kunz were putting together the final touches on their collection when protesters against Trump’s immigration ban stormed the streets of Lower Manhattan.
“There were thousands of people swinging by our office,” recalls Nicholas. “It felt really good to see people take a stand and come together.” The tense political climate wasn’t relegated to outside the office. Inside their Financial District studio, models, a lot of them from Africa — the brand has made it a point to cast a diverse lineup from all over the world — had been attending protests and wanted discuss their anxieties.
“One model was saying she was afraid they were going to add her country to the list,” says Nicholas. “Everybody is really upset about it, but is coming together.” The chaos in Washington has had an effect on every aspect of Nicholas K this season. The duo, who have been working to make their line eco-conscious and sustainable for the past two years, are concerned by the current administration’s stand on environmental issues and felt the upheaval coming.
For fall, their collection was inspired by the golden era of hip-hop and the ’90s, with a strong focus on community activism of groups like the Guardian Angels and the Black Panthers. “It’s interesting, because now it feels like everything is going backwards,” says Christopher. “Everything that was set into place by the Obama administration.”
The collection, which came down the runway Thursday morning at Skylight Clarkson SQ during the thick of the snow storm, spoke to the resistance. There were tough, oversize coats, utilitarian shirt dresses, slouchy, crushed-velvet pants and billowing dresses mostly in a strong palette of red and black. The looks were completed with fierce thigh-high metallic boots, giant hoop earrings and, of course, berets — a nod to the Panthers and Angels. Perfect looks to fight the power for the next four years.