11 Ways Wellness Made Waves at NYFW
New York Fashion Week is an international event that tends to recognize the outer appearance first, and think about inner wellness secondarily. But what if the fast-paced annual event could be known for creating wellness spaces by partnering with brands focused on green beauty, sustainability and self-care?
That’s what Jonathan Cohen did at his show in September 2019. Instead of contributing to the frenzied atmosphere that accompanies many shows, he also turned an eye toward self-care and sustainability during fashion’s most demanding week.
“Fashion week is stressful on everyone,” Jonathan says, “and there is no way getting around that, but it’s okay. Hard work is important. That being said, there is no reason that the environment around this time cannot be a pleasant one. It was important for us to maintain a healthy atmosphere during this stressful time. Everyone is working so hard, but it should also be enjoyable.”
He says he learned more about the human side of sustainability by being part of the CFDA/LEXUS residency in 2018. “There is a lot a talk about environmental impact when it comes to sustainability, which is of the utmost importance,” Jonathan says. “However, sustainability can be approached through many different ways… The environment and treatment of the workers (and yourself) within the company is extremely important.”
And that mindset brought wellness and self-care to the forefront of the backstage of his show. Not only did Jonathan’s collection itself reflect his mission to be a fashion house that is responsible for and conscious of its impact on the world by featuring a cocktail dress cut in ECONYL (100 percent regenerated nylon) embroidered with upcycled Swarovski crystals and a skirt made entirely of fabric from past seasons, but he also brought these wellness products into the fashion fold backstage to improve the ambiance and environment for his team.
11 Ways Wellness Made Waves at NYFW
The first “wellness touchpoint” began with the backstage wardrobe. Jonathan’s team provided the models with sustainably produced Blanche II robes from UGG.
Along with the plush robes, Jonathan also gave flip flops from the NYC brand Tidal to his models. Tidal’s shoes are made their local factory that is 100% powered by wind energy, with U.S.-based materials to cut down on their carbon footprint. Jonathan himself splatter-painted the shoes as a custom gift for the models to take home.
Upon sitting in the makeup chair, each model received a facial using masks from 111SKIN’s luxe product lineup. In particular, the Anti Blemish Bio Cellulose Facial Mask was popular amongst the models, catering to skin that is constantly to combatting the consequences of heavy make-up. This was followed by a relaxing eye massage using FOREO’s IRIS tool, which replicates the feeling of a manual massage with light tapping motions.
The makeup itself was a vibrant, bold, and bright look made with the certified organic, cruelty-free, vegan and Halal cosmetic brand INIKA Organic. Featuring 100 percent nontoxic formulas, the products used feature the finest quality natural and organic ingredients while delivering the same level as any conventional brand.
And the nontoxic cosmetics mission extended to nails as well, with Roxanne Campbell using her namesake cruelty-free, healthy formulas backstage.
To keep things mellow backstage, Jonathan teamed up with natural skincare pioneer California Baby to create custom organic lavender satchels and essential oils as gifts for the models.
Finally, the JC team was careful to ensure that the backstage provisions catered to the wellness set. Food & beverage selections included organic smoothies and Bites from Daily Harvest, GT’s Kombucha and collagen-infused tea from SkinTē.
Was it all worth it? Jonathan thinks so. “At the end of the show,” he says, “a model came up to me and said, ‘Thank you for letting me walk, it was such a dream of mine.’ She began to cry and said, ‘I always thought I was too short to be a model.’ I then started to cry. It was such a beautiful moment, and it reminded me why I do what I do.”