MSPMAG: After three Fashion Week MN shows, AAPI-centered production Coalesce Collective will relocate its runway to New York City in the fall. The production, which made its debut less than two years ago, is migrating east to co-produce and participate in Asian New York Fashion Week’s (NYFW) inaugural show from September 8 to 9 in Chinatown.
Coalesce will bring a cohort of seven Minnesotan, AAPI designers of diverse backgrounds, including Hmong, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Taiwanese, whose designs will hit the runway on the 9th. Additionally, Coalesce will bring along other creatives—models, hair and makeup artists, and producers. This opportunity, says producer Mao Xiong, will extend beyond the designers to showcase other AAPI talent from Minnesota.
“We’re going to be able to bring a pretty large group of Minnesotan creatives with us to New York Fashion Week to do this show and we’re just super excited for the opportunity,” she says.
The Asian NYFW will feature at least 12 AAPI communities from around the globe. There have been some AAPI-centered fashion shows in New York City, but none at this scale, says Xiong.
Not only will this NYC production take the place of a fall Fashion Week MN show, but it signals Coalesce’s leave of the organization entirely. The intent behind it is so Coalesce’s identity remains distinct from Fashion Week MN’s, she says.
“After our second show, we really talked a lot about where we wanted to see Coalesce go. The main thing with Coalesce is that we always wanted to continue to connect with more AAPI creatives,” Xiong says. “We’ve invited designers outside of the Twin Cities to be a part of our productions and that has been such a positive influence and experience for our team.”
The opportunity came about through Coalesce’s application in May to the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). The not-for-profit organization, which is dedicated to amplifying American fashion, connected Coalesce to Asian NYFW.
Currently, Coalesce’s next steps are finalizing models, team members, and fundraising, says Xiong, “It’s been kind of like a whirlwind since we found out about it. We’re just pinching ourselves every single day, ‘Like, is this real?’”
She adds: “When I sit down and think about it, I get a little emotional. Our team has created this family, where everybody’s so supportive of each other. When I think, ‘Oh wow, we’re going to New York Fashion Week and we get to be a part of this huge AAPI show that’s going to show so many different types of AAPI communities,’ it’s just overwhelming in a very positive and emotional way.”
Coalesce Collective Designers in Asian NYFW:
Mai See Vue, M. Heurh Designs
Mimi Nguyen, Vo Nguyen Atelier
Kennedy Lor, LOWKEN
Allison PhamDivya Divakaran, Be Tvum by Divya