VFILES, the creative social media site, app and fashion design collective with a loyal celebrity following — including Naomi Campbell and Teyana Taylor — opened New York Fashion Week for the seventh time last night. Merging materials, textures and technology, the hour-long fashion show read more like a collaborative art school performance than a highbrow runway collection, and that is exactly what the founder of VFILES, Julie Ann Quay, was going for.
“This show was an emotional thing because you’re working with young artists, photographers, designers, and for a lot of them, it’s their debut, their first step into the spotlight,” Quay said in an exclusive interview with Billboard. “Instead of parents front-row at a grad school ceremony, it’s Scooter Braun [manager for Justin Bieber, Usher, Vic Mensa and more] and Joel Madden, Young Thug and Charlie Walk from Republic Records,” she said.
While most designers save coveted front-row seats for fashion editors and big-name moguls, VFILES takes a cue from the “country” of the internet, a place “only segregated by service and IP addresses,” and gathers as many diverse influencers as possible. A-Trak, producer and owner of culturally influential Brooklyn-based label Fools Gold Records, DJ’d the run of show donning a VFILES x Mountain Dew wearable tech camo jacket. Transgender stylist Kyle Luu, known for her inspired styling of Travi$ Scott and Tinashe, had a prime front-row spot. And while wearing Rushemy Botter, one of the five featured VFILES designers, rapper and VFILES mentor Young Thug tweaked one of Botter’s outfits on a model as he was walking down the runway.
Quay says she was grateful for that moment, because fashion is meant to be collaborative and loves the direction designers, like Kanye West with Yeezy Season 4, are taking the industry in. “If you look at what the models wore, if you look at the presentation, the concept, the whole thing was brilliant, and it’s ridiculous the fashion media are criticizing it,” Quay said. “We should not be judging and criticizing each other. I want to tell the industry, ‘Stop being so passé! Look around you!’ This is the world now, and this world is changing.”