Naeem Khan is a new designer for me. Like many others this year, I am happy about that fact. It removes expectations of a designer which can cloud future critique. With the ever-evolving fashion space, I am somewhat skeptical of male creative designers over women’s fashion. I find the idea archaic, though I do understand the importance of a variation of voices being allowed to have a voice at the table.
This fall-winter collection reminds me of the Patbo and Bronx + Banco collections. The only difference is that this collection wasn’t shown on the runway. In the grand scheme of things, this doesn’t really matter, because it’s the designs that indeed count. But I can’t help but want to feel more immersed in the world that the designer is curating.
As with any collection, there are good pieces and pieces that are even better. The first thing I like about the collection is that there are garments that I wouldn’t typically find on the high street. The colours are deep and some of the fabrics and patterns used are special. Special in a way that potentially wouldn’t perform well on a mass-produced scale.
One of the main features of modern collections that I do look for is the body of work in total. Meaning, how many looks did the designer create in total? Most designers are sending almost 100 looks down the runway in one season, so I like to see how designers cope with this fact. It’s a difficult space to navigate because not only do you have to think about sustainability, but you do need a depth of work to have you keep up. This collection by Naeem Khan is good. Depth-wise, there is enough range for this to be classed as a strong collection.
Diversity & Inclusion
Next, the diversity in the models used in the collection is good. Many women can look at the collection and at the very least feel inspired. However, the collection lacks inclusion. You may be confused by this because the two often go hand-in-hand, but let me explain this further. Women are vast and come from different places. You will have women of colour with 1a textured hair up to 4c hair. Diversity is casting a wide range of women to show your designs because we’re not a monolith. However, inclusion comes into the picture by simply using these women as they are as a muse. Dark-skin black women do not naturally have straight hair. If so, they have a blend of ethnicities in their family tree which is something to be proud of.
Where inclusion falls short, a piece of art almost feels like it’s missing something. That is how I feel when I view this collection. Yes, there are women of colour included in the designs, however, they don’t look like me either. It’s tough, but Naeem should focus more on pushing the envelope of his designs and try to build more inclusion and diversity.
Explore the collection here.