Nicole Phillips
Nicole Phillips
Native New Yorker Nicole Phillips is a lawyer by day and writer by night. When she's not working, you can find her at the nearest wine bar. Learn more about Nicole at @loesquire or on

Interview with Christian Cowan Fall 2018: New York Fashion Week

[Editorial note: This story was updated on March 23 to include credits as they appear in image meta data, previously only visible on mobile]

Christian Cowan NYFW FW18

Represented by Purple PR.

FWO went behind the scenes to interview the genius Christian Cowan before he showed his Fall/Winter 2018 collection.

Christian Cowan’s runway carried as much excitement as the designer himself had for it, as his army of models sported beautiful pieces, from sparkling two-piece gold power suits to neon green bubble coats. Checkered print in varied sizes covered black and white and red and black pieces. As for the neon lights built into clothing – Christian was not joking. Purple lights framed the collar of a sequin blazer, forming an almost lightening shape and brightening up the stage. Another crowd favorite was a plush red coat complete with a red neon heart over the model’s heart. Overall, Christian managed to capture a feeling he had set out to do this season – a feeling of celebration, excitement, and awe over his Fall/Winter 2018 preview.

Christian Cowan: NYFW FW18

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NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 10: A model walks the runway for Christian Cowan during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at at Gallery II at Spring Studios on February 10, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Christian Cowan)

Q: What can we expect to see that we haven’t seen from you already?

A lot! First, it’s a full upgrade from last season; quality wise, manufacturing, I now do 32 looks, it’s far larger, and I really wanted to up the fabrications, there are millions of garments with thousands of crystals. I’ve done many more leather pieces, there’s no fur this season because I’m not doing fur anymore.  And this season, I have neon lights built into clothes!

Q: Where did you get your inspiration from for this collection?

I really wanted to capture a mood, I wanted it to be completely celebratory and happy. I once heard an Amy Winehouse quote that said, “When I sing, I just want everyone to forget about their problems.” I wanted to do that in a collection. I want people leave feeling empowered – fashion should bring people up and not bring people down.

Q: As a young designer, what is the most difficult thing you’ve experienced in the fashion industry?

You wouldn’t have guessed it, but it’s that other bigger designers steal all the models – all famous models get taken away. No one talks about it!

Young designers can’t compete with a quarter of a million dollar offer for a famous girl – and I don’t blame the girl for taking it. Maybe there can be more support towards designers for getting models, because it helps exposure.  It also helps with getting sponsorship and a foundation for the brand. It’s something that should be addressed.

Q: As a designer, how do you feel about intellectual property and protecting your brand?

I’ve had things hardcore copied before. It’s wrong, but I also have the mindset that they can copy it, go for it, kind of a compliment, I’ll come up with something new and I’m confident that I can come up with something else that will be good. I cannot battle a big designer in a lawsuit and I also don’t want to upset people either.

Q: What is a current trend you don’t love?

I’m stealing Donatella Versace’s answer – minimalism. I’m all about maximalism. I always say my clothes are considered “excess” – it’s not a mess, because often when people do glitzy and shiny stuffy, it’s too much.  Whereas I like to do a balancing act, to make it chic and wearable – it’s a considered chaos!

Q: What do you want people to think and feel when they see and wear your clothes?

I just want to make people happy. I always say my clothes are the clothes you wear when you want to get complimented. I just want people to feel good – it’s all about them as well. I don’t make clothes to make them look good for everyone else, it’s about you feeling awesome. When we do fittings, the models are like “I feel amazing!”, and that is what it’s about. I’ll change what a model wears if he or she doesn’t feel amazing in the piece.

Q: Are you going fur free from now on?

Fur free from now on – no more fur.  I feel it’s old and doesn’t need to be used, there are such amazing faux furs out there. There are a bunch in this collection that look great. People actually think they’re real, I get comments on my Instagram about using fur and I have to say “actually, it’s faux!”


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With love,