New York Fashion Week (NYFW) is a glitzy and glamorous affair and the Spring/Summer 2019 offerings didn't falter from this pattern. Fashion aficionados headed to the big apple from September 6 to September 14 to attend top-tier designer's invitation-only events, whether it be an extravagant runway show or a presentation. Designers like Tanya Taylor, however, veer from the norm this year.
Taylor, a Canadian designer who's a McGill University and Parsons School of Design alum, worked for Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen's brand Elizabeth and James for years before launching her namesake brand in 2011. Since this, her company has been known for incorporating vibrant colors and fun prints into its attire. She unveiled a widely popular shirt in honor of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign that was worn by celebrities like Demi Lovato, Emma Roberts and Olivia Wilde. She's additionally been praised for pushing for inclusivity in fashion upon expanding her collection size offerings after being inspired by Saturday Night Live star Aidy Bryant, who previously shared her frustration with finding designers to style her for industry events.
Taylor shifted her focus during SS19. In past seasons, the Tanya Taylor brand would debut its latest line at NYFW like any other designer. This year, the luxury company teamed up with Vogue to host an intimate luncheon that celebrated 30 women from various industries. Taylor carefully selected her 30 attendees, including designer Sami Miro and actress Francia Raisa, over the course of a year. The chosen women were individuals of varying ages, industries and lifestyles that Taylor felt best represented the brand's customers. Veering away from the traditional NYFW setting ultimately allowed for her to create a more authentic experience.
"We're real and so is our customer," Taylor told Newsweek. "We want to use our resources to talk to her, and a glossy presentation didn't feel real anymore."
Added Taylor, "We wanted to find a way to connect with our audience that felt more real. Many of our customers do not work in fashion nor do they all live in New York. We wanted to find a way to make them feel like they were a part of fashion week and connected to our brand."
Tanya Taylor worked closely with the crop of 30 women to determine a style or silhouette that best suited their way of life. From there, these women—a chef and a farmer, included—wore test-garments during their normal day-to-day tasks to see what items felt most comfortable to them.
Fast forward to September 8, Taylor invited this impressive group of women to the cozy event, which happened to be held at her home. At the event, she aimed to continue her theme of female empowerment by highlighting the stories of her selectees.
"We brought this group of 30 women together, all wearing their favorite S19 looks, to a luncheon at my home during New York Fashion Week," Taylor explained. "We told the story of the women through our digital channels and partnered with Vogue on the project for amplification. It has been one of our biggest successes yet in really connecting with our customer."
Taylor recognizes that her customers grow with her. While the brand often associates with sweet florals and styles that fit the latest trend, she feels her customers are willing to "experiment" with the company as well.
"For F18 plaid is a big story. For S19 you will see animal print and gingham," Taylor said to Newsweek. "We're looking at patterns as new neutrals and they work well with our customer—she is already someone that is not afraid of color or pattern and wants to be bold."