City Pulse

By Yasmin Jorge

Nolcha Fashion Week presented its runway shows at Pier 59 Studios at Chelsea Piers this season. The day-long event features independent avant-garde designers with interesting points of view for a broad-minded audience. The shows I attended included an eclectic group of designers focused on futuristic feminine RTW, nostalgic pin-up girl swimsuits, and urban T-shirts and hoodies for grunge and advocacy.

Here’s the scoop on four special fashion visionaries.

Tess Johnson
This winning alum of Lifetime Network’s 24 Hour Catwalk continues to innovate and inspire with a cutting-edge and pretty RTW collection that includes both hard and soft elements. For example, she’ll pair girlie skirts with tough motorcycle jackets, some with leather sleeves; and flowing skirts look smart with glam capes and luxe coats. Her sombre color palette of grays, blacks and olives is punched up with really unique bold prints for an electrifying surprise, as evident in her slim pants and some dresses and jackets. Cat Footwear provided the pumps.


Mikailee Alton
Mandi Gallegos is a survivor – a single mom who overcame Central Nervous System Vaculitis, a debilitating rare disease that causes blood clots in the brain’s vessels. The designer is triumphant, a warrior princess, and her collection exudes this attitude in a futuristic feminine way that is sexy and edgy. While her color palette is mostly goth-black, she does include gold and white, and an exquisite splatter print, as in her gorgeous maxi dress with daring thigh-length slit. Aside from some short shorts, Gallegos’ collection of pants (some skinny and one an MC-Hammer throwback) and tops of various lengths are masterfully cut, artful, and yet quite wearable and comfortable.


Dos Caras
Growing up on the picturesque beaches of San Diego, Syncletica Maestas and Aida Soria are the creative duo behind this swimwear line. You’ll love summoning your inner Marilyn Monroe, as these sunny designers have created a more forgiving collection boasting fuller coverage and better support. Reminiscent of the 1940s pin-up gal, the swimsuits are retro and cute, in refreshing cotton candy pinks, whites with mint trim, and loads of sparkles. A lovely tie-dyed pink coverup is a winning look.

The Vanity Project
Buddies since college, Omri Bojko and Jason Sochol have executed a line of eco-friendly and cozy t-shirts and hoodies for self-expression and purpose. Consider: some shirts say “Equality” and “Tools of War.” The line is an example of fashion meets function, and there is beauty in simplicity of cut – we are just speaking of basic tees in regular colors of blue, gray, black, some red and mint – but the individual logos make them special. TVP has partnered with over 30 nonprofits to help them create clothes people will want to wear while spreading awareness for a cause.

Now in its sixth year, Nolcha is one of New York’s premier platforms for indie global fashion designers.
The brands showcased were from China, Sweden, The UK, Brazil, and across the U.S. The Presenting Sponsor RUSK, an international leader in the professional salon industry, returned for a second consecutive season, and was joined by Official Sponsors: smartwater, CLEAR, RealBeanz, DON Q Rums, FOCO Pure Coconut Water and American Airlines.

** Photos provided by Arthur Mandel for Nolcha
** Group Shots by Jeff Holmes

Originally published February 2013
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