No Such Agency

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Last week, I ventured into Chinatown to visit the ready-to-wear showroom of No Such Agency, a boutique PR firm. They, along with a handbag brand and a lingerie brand, occupy the Triple A Loft, a cool, airy space filled with natural light. A zebra greeted me when I stepped out of the elevator, and I wandered past the mod yellow sofa and issues of WWD and Electrify in the lobby to the No Such Agency space, a charming area with a minimalist desk and table, an old-fashioned window, a floor-to-ceiling mirror, and six racks of samples. An intern greeted me and showed me around, telling me all about the collections.

I was immediately drawn to the Daniel.Silverstain rack. “I want to focus on this brand because I would wear every item here,” I stammered. I don’t always say this. Liking every item from a clothing brand is rare, in the way that it’s rare to enjoy every song in a music artist’s repertoire. What was it about these few items, hanging on a single steel rod, spaced a few inches apart? There was the recurrent pairing of black and white. There was the dramatic asymmetry, the kind that makes you feel perpetually a step ahead of the here and now.  There was the formality of each piece – being in my early twenties, I often like to dress older so I will be taken more seriously. And even though common prints and materials were used across items, as is typical for a seasonal collection, no two pieces blended together. There was nothing redundant, nothing forgettable. I could envision every item on myself, each one standing out on a crowded block, each one making a distinct impression.

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This is the Fall 2016 collection, shown last September as a see-now, buy-now presentation. Titled WHITE.CITY, it was inspired by the effects of the Bauhaus movement on Tel Aviv in the 1950s.

Me in the layered blouse, black pants, and crocodile-embossed shearling coat with separating panel in orchid. Though I prefer warm weather, I have always gravitated toward the grandeur of a long winter coat. All runway photos by Robert Mitra/WWD.  

Daniel Silverstain founded his luxury apparel brand in 2013. He takes inspiration from industrialism, modernism, and futurism. “I design to inspire women to be bold, to be courageous, to stand out, and to create a story of their own,” he says. Originally from Israel, Silverstain started his fashion career at the Israeli division of KEDS Kids in 2006, advancing quickly to Design Director. In 2009, he moved to New York to pursue a BFA in Fashion/Apparel Design at FIT. While in school, he interned at Marie Claire for a semester (see, even acclaimed designers pay their dues) and worked as an assistant designer at 3.1 Phillip Lim and a designer at Muuse and Elie Tahari.

He launched Daniel.Silverstain soon after graduating. Last year, he co-founded Flying Solo, a designer-owned retail incubator in Little Italy. Flying Solo provides a platform for startup brands to enter the brick-and-mortar market without selling to a retailer, which requires accommodating a retail markup and often supplying high minimum orders, or maintaining their own boutique, especially in New York where rents are high. Flying Solo is owned and operated by twenty-eight fashion brands.

     Daniel Silverstain Janelle Monae

Janelle Monáe, my favorite actress now that she’s an actress, in a Daniel.Silverstain coat for Cosmopolitan. Photo by Max Abadian.

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I recognized KUT from the Kloth from Nordstrom, where I sold their jeans in the Point of View department alongside brands like Caslon and NYDJ. I really enjoyed seeing the brand on its own, in its complete form. I always knew they had great-fitting jeans, but I didn’t know that they also had dresses, tops, jackets, and pants! I loved the profusion of florals, the pinstripes, the sweeping bell sleeves, and the whimsical paper bag waist on a pair of dress pants.

Me in the Luz blouse and Regina pants. Life Stride shoes.

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The effervescent bell sleeve of a pink blouse. 

KUT from the Kloth is based in Los Angeles. Their core focus is “to offer women of all shapes and sizes the perfect-fitting jean”. They started with the denim concept in 1977, but expanded to add sportswear in 2006. The company has a strong commitment to workers’ rights, requiring that all of their suppliers and vendors adhere to their Code of Ethics policy. They make sure to work only with factories that do not employ workers younger than 15, pay a fair wage, properly dispose of all hazardous materials, and have an environmental management system in place that includes disaster and emergency preparedness. After the Rana Plaza collapse, this is welcome to hear.

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The Ruthy dress and Rosie skirt. 

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The off-shoulder flutter sleeve dress and Adyson dress. 

You can find KUT from the Kloth on their website, Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Century 21, Zappos, Bluefly, and many boutiques nationwide. As a resident of Bushwick who likes to shop at little shops, my source of choice is Néda in Park Slope.

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No Such Agency’s fashion showroom makes appointments for editors, stylists, celebrities, bloggers, and “micro-influencers” to select samples to borrow for photo shoots and events. The biggest appointment witnessed by the girl I talked to was from Vogue, to select pieces for a Karlie Kloss spread shot in Australia. Karlie Kloss has been my favorite model since this article in 2007, so I was pretty excited. No Such Agency keeps six brands at a time. The founders, “This British power couple”, consistently choose independent ready-to-wear brands “with a cool vibe”. They also have a showroom in Los Angeles.

Besides fashion, No Such Agency represents clients in the media, music, art, and lifestyle industries; in other words, everything creative and glamorous. The founders, Dan and Helena Barton, came from marketing at Diesel. Dan has worked at Maison Margiela and DSquared2. Helena has worked at Rag & Bone and All Saints. On the music side, she has worked for James Brown, The Strokes, Kings of Leon, and Franz Ferdinand.

My Trip to Fashion Week — Yuna Yang

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I keep getting closer. Last year, as a Michael Kors intern, I worked at Market Week for their Fall 2016 collection. This season, I was invited to Yuna Yang as a blogger. So last Saturday afternoon, I put on my coat and boots, crunched through the snow, and took the 30-minute train ride into Manhattan, cold and excited.

The show was at the Gotham Comedy Club in Chelsea, so guests sat at tables for two partitioned along the wall. I was pleased because I could hang my coat on a chair and place my purse on a table, two things you can’t do with the traditional rows of benches. I could also get to know my table-mate, who, as it happens, went to NYU like me! As the guests poured in, I noticed colorful faux-fur jackets, lace-up booties, and box clutches.

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Guests arrive and take their seats. 

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Two guests before the show. 

Every Yuna Yang collection has a name, and this season was called “Lights in the Shadow”. I appreciate this about Yuna Yang because attending the show felt like seeing a performance, like a play or a dance recital. The collection was inspired by the people’s protests against American president Donald Trump, especially the Women’s March, and South Korean president Park Geun-hye, who was impeached last December. The show notes said, “Yuna Yang’s F/W17 collection pays homage to people who hold on to hope and belief in shadowed times.”

The models included Marina Albino, Phillipa Steele, Nastya Choo, Rachel Thomas, Alyona Subbotina, Liga Liepina, Val Debeuf, Jini Lee, Akua Williams, and Lisa Tomaschewsky.

Here are some of the looks:

FLOWER BOMBER PRINT

yuna-yang-flower-bomber-print-dress     yuna-yang-flower-bomber-pajama-with-yy-signature-beaded-camisole

WATERFALL PRINT

yuna-yang-yy-signature-beaded-camisole-with-waterfall-skirt    yuna-yang-waterfall-leather-trench-coat-with-flower-bomber-jeans

AUSTRIAN LACE

yuna-yang-yy-signature-austrian-lace-dress    yuna-yang-yy-signature-austrian-lace-trench-coat-with-lace-pants

LIGHTING CANDLE PRINT

yuna-yang-lighting-candle-print-dress   yuna-yang-twinkle-sweatshirt-with-lightning-candle-print-skirt    yuna-yang-lighting-candle-print-tunic-with-sky-blue-fur-coat

yuna-yang-lighting-candle-print-trenchcoat-with-twinkle-long-sweatshirt   yuna-yang-lighting-candle-print-trench-coat-with-twinkle-sweatshirt-and-wide-pants

AND MORE

yuna-yang-royal-purple-overcoat-with-twinkle-sweatshirt-2   yuna-yang-grey-shadow-leather-trench-coat-with-twinkle-slip-dress-2

yuna-yang-burgundy-slip-dress-3   yuna-yang-burgundy-slip-dress

My favorite look of all was the closing look, the burgundy slip dress. The collection was bright and full of energy, with gold, yellow, orange, lavender, green, and sky blue. Velvet dresses, sweatshirts, and skirts provided the durability one needs to get through fall and winter.

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Me before the show started. D-Face leather dress. Hue cross-hatch leggings. Merona boots. Vintage dragonfly necklace. 

As this was my first time attending Fashion Week, I was so excited to see up close that which I have looked at from afar for the past decade (yes, since I was in middle school). When I was 12, I wrote a story about an island of witches who wore only haute couture, every day, at every occasion. After seeing the beautiful Yuna Yang outfits, I was left wishing that everyone out on the street  looked as put-together as runway models. That may not be the case, but this week Manhattan came pretty close.

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Yuna Yang is from Seoul. Before starting her own brand, she thoroughly learned her craft; she earned a degree in Fine Arts from Ewha Women’s University, a degree in Design from Instituto Marangoni, and a degree in Womenswear Design from Central Saint Martins. She also gained valuable work experience, working with Alviero Martini in Milan and Ann-Sofie Beck and Clements Ribeiro in London. She debuted her New York based line, Yuna Yang, at NYFW Fall 2010, and has shown every season since. She has also dressed many a celebrity: Carrie Underwood, Jessica Loundes, Danai Gurira, Darby Stanchfield, Nicole Murphy, Dascha Polanco, Maye Musk, and Irene Kim to name a few!

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Carrie Underwood in the music video for “See You Again”

yuna-yang-nicole-murphy    yuna-yang-irene-kim

Nicole Murphy; Irene Kim

yuna-yang-jessica-lowndes   yuna-yang-danai-gurira

Jessica Loundes; Danai Gurira

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Darby Stanchfield; Maye Musk 

2016 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals

NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 28: Actress Dascha Polanco attends the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden on August 28, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Yuna Yang can be found at Foravi in Manhattan; Cami in Roslyn, NY; Deborah Gilbert Smith in Millburn, NJ; Joe Brand in Laredo, TX; Joe Brand in McAllen, TX; A&A in Taipei; La Scala in Taipei; Art to Wear in Taipei; Shin Kong Mitsukoshi in Taipei; Avenuel in Seoul; Galleria in Seoul; Lotte in Busan, South Korea; Isetan in Tokyo; and Arabian Apparel in Riyadh.

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Yuna Yang hats and headbands at Isetan. 

Past concepts: The New Woman, No Borders, The 100% Perfect Girl, Hunting Without Guns, The Butterfly Mother, 1920s Shapes Meet Modern Art, Che Bella, Civil Twilight, Magic, Bright Lights Big City, My Black Wedding Dress

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