Shan Huq’s fall ’17 collection saw the young queer designer abandoning clickbait fashion in favor of a more nondescript, minimal range—refreshing in an age when everyone is screaming for attention, and especially during NYFW.
"I didn't want clickbait," Huq said backstage. "It's really boring, and you look so much cooler in a suit than something that takes a good Instagram photo. I really felt like this season was the least Instagram-friendly thing you could see right now, and that was the best part."
Related | Gallery: Shan Huq Fall '17
In the past, Huq has built a name for himself in New York’s underground fashion circuit by lacing his lineups with irony and stoking the fires of online sensationalism—his breakout collection was embroidered with silly poems about midwestern mundanity and its follow-up featured a faux fur coat with Tila Tequila's face on the back. But Huq is no longer interested in designing for Instagram likes or buzzy headlines; now his sights are set on establishing himself as a staple American brand.
"This season I wanted to do exactly the opposite of everything I've ever done," Huq said. "I've always done a lot of color, so I wanted to control that. The first season, there were bright oranges, greens, pinks and blues, but this time I thought, 'Let's do brown, beige and black.' I'm cleaning everything up."
Simplicity certainly underlined Huq's latest, rolling out a lineup of edited American classics, from straight-legged trousers to timeless topcoats and layered striped tees. There was still an element of self-aware normalcy to Huq's downtown prep look, with Huq's models appearing a bit meek and awkward, as if pulled from small middle-American towns—his signature.
Pants were pulled up a bit too high and cropped a bit too short, intentionally referencing being young and growing out of your old clothes. "I always like pants to fit kind of weird," Huq said. This youthful nostalgia extended onto graphic tees, which read "Shan's Bar Mitzvah February 15 2017" underneath an appropriated image from Club Penguin, the online virtual world that launched in 2005.
"I really want to establish this brand as a luxury brand," Huq said, who's already been picked up by stores, such as Dover Street Market. "I'll always be interested in humor, but now it's about taking all those funny things and making them more refined."