Meet Five Designers Showing at Williamsburg Fashion Weekend

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Williamsburg Fashion Weekend starts tonight, and with an aim to merge clothing design with art and activism, it promises to be an event well suited for the dedicated trendsetter as well as the fashion indifferent. Unlike official New York Fashion Week events (which ended yesterday), Brooklyn’s more welcoming counterpart is open to the public and serves as a platform for emerging designers, especially ones who are looking to expand the notion of what a fashion show can be. We sat down with five of this year’s ten presenters, including one who’s based in the East Village, to see what we can expect from their shows and why it’s worth a hop across the river. We also asked them where in Williamsburg they’d spend $500.

1Bekaia Maggie CraigUta Bekaia with one of his pieces
at Ideal Glass

Uta Bekaia
Showing Saturday at 10 p.m.
Uta Bekaia, a fashion vet who works out of Ideal Glass on East Second Street, is looking to explore what he calls “art wear”—fashion that’s intended to be performance art rather than functional clothing. He’ll be showing a “funky and dark” Medieval-themed collection called “Purple Jester,” which will be shown along to live music.
Favorite thing about WFW: “It’s more chill and relaxed than New York Fashion Week. I like it because it’s 100 percent underground, it stands for the anti-corporate idea of manufacturing — everything’s handmade by the designer —it has an ideal of some sort. And it’s funky and more open to crazier stuff.”
$500 shopping spree: Urban Jungle Vintage

2LockwoodMaggie CraigMelissa Lockwood wearing one
of her pieces in her Bushwick

Melissa Lockwood (IQTEST)
Showing Friday at 10 p.m.
Using scrap fabric from commercial designers allows Ms. Lockwood to cut costs and create a commentary on consumer culture while also producing fun, wearable dresses and skirts. “For me this is primarily about the message,” she said. “I became a fashion designer because of a product that happened by surprise. I don’t know what I’m going to make when I choose the scraps, that comes after I find them.
Favorite thing about WFW: “The fashion shows are really unique and creative visually. Risks are taken because the designers aren’t motivated by product sales.”
$500 shopping spree: Beacon’s closet

3Kraynina_headMaggie CraigNathalie Kraynina (left) and Kaci
Head (right) with model Yen Kim
(center) wearing their pieces.

Nathalie Kraynina and Kaci Head
Showing Friday at 10:30 p.m.
This business-minded duo is looking to put locally made, ethical clothing on the map. “I love my clothes and I love making them,” Ms. Kraynina explained. “I love the fittings and all that too, but the bottom line is that I also want them to be made in a responsible way. That’s why they’re all made 100 percent here in New York.” As for their style, she says, “Our pieces are both very elegant and sophisticated, but also very edgy and rock and roll. We always have that little punch.” Ms. Kraynina designs the clothing while Ms. Head designs the accessories for each look.
Favorite thing about WFW: “We are the fresh blood. We are the zeitgeist,” said Ms. Kraynina. “We don’t really have money, we don’t have the big corporation behind us and we are putting everything into this. We’re putting our whole heart into this. It’s supportive of local designers. And plus, it’s a big party.”
$500 shopping spree: Ms. Kraynina: Brooklyn Fox
Ms. Head: Atlantis Attic Vintage

4Brauser(1)Maggie CraigUta Brauser wearing one of
her pieces.

Uta Brauser
Showing Friday at 9 p.m.
More activist than fashion designer, Ms. Brauser looks to clothing design as a way to push forward political dialogue. Her collection for the show includes paintball masks and visors to invoke a sense of “shielding” as a response to the repeated occurrence of gun violence in schools.
Favorite thing about WFW: “Williamsburg Fashion Week still maintains that core of genuine, non-gentrified artistic expression that you used to find in the East Village and Lower East Side. It all moved to Williamsburg. Williamsburg now contains the urban core of designers that makes New York such an extremely creative capital.”
$500 shopping spree: Live Astro

5Hicks(1)Maggie CraigMarcus Hicks

Marcus Hicks (SDN)
Showing Saturday at 10:30 p.m.
Mr. Hicks designs clothing inspired by vintage looks from the thirties to the seventies, and made with soy-based fabrics and organic cotton. His presentation for Williamsburg Fashion Week will be a theatrical runway show with a collection that includes a play on hoods, including a hooded capelet and hooded dresses.
Favorite thing about WFW: “For somebody who follows fashion and fashion week, this is good for a different perspective. If you’re someone who likes art, it’s a good place to see visual art and have a good time. As a designer, I like that it helps me trust myself and do what I think is good instead of worrying about what’s on trend or in style.”
$500 shopping spree Treehouse Brooklyn

Williamsburg Fashion Weekend, Feb. 15 and 16. Doors open at 8 p.m. and first show starts at 9 p.m. sharp. 50 North 3rd Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.