When we talk about fashion cities in the United States, New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami are usually on top of our minds. But the truth is, every city has a different style, an emerging trend, and a very unique story to tell. 

Washington DC, as the capital of the United States, has a very interesting voice in fashion. As it consolidates people from all states and every Congressional District, the diversity in terms of political views and fashion styles is quite extensive. 

Two times per year, fashionistas gather together to welcome a new season in fashion and take a glance at what the near future in fashion will look like. This time is called “Fashion Week”. 

Image Courtesy of Allison | Designer Valencii Ventora

Political fashion was in the front row of DC Fashion Week to see the work of many designers from the DMV area (District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia). Creative people, from designers and producers to makeup artists, models, entrepreneurs, coordinators, interns, and assistants, made it possible for over two dozen fashion businesses to present their work in two nights.

DC Fashion Week took place at the National Housing Center Atrium. With window walls that touched the ceiling, and natural light illuminating the venue, guests walked through the red carpet with Beyoncé’s latest album as background music.

Here are some of the highlights from this international fashion celebration, as well as some hints of emerging trends we will start seeing during the spring-summer season in 2024. 

Oversized Prints Are Here to Stay 

Designer: Fort Mosé 1738

For several decades, some fashionistas have stated that short people should stay away from oversized prints because this will make them look even shorter. Although that is true to this day due to the optical illusion that this juxtaposition creates, it is also important to consider balancing items to blend this effect and not refuse to try certain clothes just because of fear. 

In DC Fashion Week, oversized prints were prevalent: Geometric and abstract motifs and bold and highly contrasting color combinations were present in many fashion items for consumers of all genders. 

Fashion is rich in texture.

Clothing by Ibi. Image Courtesy of VisualsDmv

American film director Stanley Kubrick used to say that everything has already been done. 

So, how does fashion keep its relevance under this premise? Especially in a hypervisual world where photos are ephemeral and the fashion industry is interconnected through social media all across the world. 

An important element in fashion that many designers are heavily exploring this season is texture. Texture makes a black dress stand out among a series of black dresses. Texture makes red carpet moments more memorable when the dress shines, moves, or creates an interesting silhouette. 

In DC Fashion Week, we saw texture on steroids. Several textures are combined in one look to create many particularly interesting looks that got the eye of the whole show. Sequins and tulle, mesh and embroidery, feathers and lace. The shows not only brought together interesting texture duets but left implicitly the message that textures are meant to be combined and that there are so many other potential combinations that fashionistas can explore at home with the clothes they already own. 

Washington DC Fashion Highlights: Tygerian Lace

Menswear is feminine, but also masculine, but very feminine. 

When we talk about masculinity, words like “courage” and “strength” come up. 

When it comes to fashion, in a political scenario where Congress has voted on legislation to ban LGBTQ+ rights, books, education, diversity, equity, and inclusion training, and health care for trans people, for so many men, it makes sense to be terrified of walking down in the streets being who they are and wearing the clothes they wear. 

So, there really is a great level of strength and courage in a man who decides to wear multicolor fur jackets, tight leather shorts, and embroidered suits. 

DC Fashion Week presented a show full of traditionally masculine garments with great tailoring and styling, adding feminine elements that make them current and visually interesting. 

In fashion shows and editorials, very often, the fashion is meant to make the audience daydream and be the model walking with the clothes. The confidence that they have when they are walking with the fabulous clothes, the style, and the story that comes together, putting together all visual elements, made the audience daydream about what menswear fashion in the streets should be and in the near future will be. 

Washington DC Fashion Highlights: Ivan and Erin

Ivan & Erin is an American luxurious fashion brand well known for its bold colors and patterns, creating suits and resortwear. 

The devil is on the details

Why do only a handful of red-carpet appearances make it to the best-dressed list, and the others are left out? What are they doing so well that is celebrated by fashion critics and social media fans? The details of fashion are an essential factor in every look. 

Because fashion has never been so competitive, and the work behind every seam, pleat, trim, and color selection matters on the overall result. 

Washington DC Fashion Highlights Hoodlvm by Deontre 

A designer who has made his work very well known for his authentic style and spectacular attention to detail is Deontre. 

Deontre was a finalist in Next in Fashion Season 2. His work focused on oversized streetwear, often getting close to the line of being avant-garde. His work on developing textures, volumes, and authentic silhouettes has made him a well-known figure in the DMV fashion area. 

His collection was full of effortless silhouettes with clever textures and materials that made the fashion show exceptional. 

Art is Culture, Culture is Fashion, Fashion is Art

In 2013, Lady Gaga released an avant-garde album that sought to bring together the pop and art worlds with electronic music and a Jeff Koons assisted album cover. The album was misunderstood for its time. But a decade has passed, and pop culture has transitioned into ways and directions that the digital age and the globalization of artists and craftsmen have created. 

All this to say, it makes sense to use fashion as a medium to display art and become part of the art by wearing it. This was an interesting concept introduced by Bruse Living Art Apparel, where art was presented on everything from swimwear dresses, tops and skirts.

It was very refreshing to see a series of fashion shows directed, designed, modeled and seen by diverse talent, with a main focus on bringing attention to people of color.

Because diverse fashion is about bringing together voices that, historically and systemically, have been far too long unheard.