February in New York usually consists of a different kind of hustle and bustle, with editors, bloggers and the usual fashion suspects running from show to show, in shoes we promised our friends were walkable (wrong) and coats we promised were warm enough (wrong again).

In a time where most wardrobes have fallen hostage to never ending sweatpants, we couldn’t be more excited that New York Fashion Week is back, albeit, virtually. And watching Canada’s own talents make a mark on opening day is definitely worth celebrating.

New York Fashion Week kicked things off on Sunday, with two Canadian designers on the opening bill.

Jason Wu’s show is already becoming one of the highlights of the week, with his unique grocery-store runway concept.

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“I love the idea of this beautiful general store and the idea that, that is basically our runway nowadays” Jason Wu explained. “Fashion has to be fun. The idea to integrate what all of us our doing right now, which you know, our big trip is to go to the grocery store. I thought that was a little tongue in cheek.”

The Americana-style collection saw Wu take a more casual approach than we’ve seen in the past, while continuing his signature patterns – all in the setting of “Mr. Wu’s General Store”.

“I wanted to make clothes that people can imagine themselves wearing,” he tells ET Canada.

And while Wu took inspiration from our current state of fashion, fellow Canadian Jordan Stewart’s label RVNG Couture used the runway to take a more fantastical approach, in the hopes of manifesting what fashion in a post-COVID world could look like.

“My inspiration was that we are moving past the times that we are in. It’s a fantasy collection, created for me to kind of say what fashion could be in the future,” Stewart explains. “It’s about what’s next!

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Virtual fashion shows may be a by-product of the pandemic, but both designers can agree that it also comes with its own unique set of positives.

“I think one of the neatest things for me, being Canadian, being in Toronto right now,” Stewart admits. “I was the little girl on my couch watching runway, I want to see that continue. To be able to give you a front row ticket… from your homes to NYFW. Which at one point wasn’t that accessible… that for me is the coolest.”

Photo: George Pimentel
Photo: George Pimentel

And besides accessibility, virtual fashion shows are raising the question of sustainability as well.

“I think what will emerge out of this is that we’re going to appreciate more quality versus quantity. Meaning that when we buy something, and as creators when we create something we want it to mean that much more,” adds Wu. “To put ourselves in the consumers shoes, do you need it?”

To view all of the Fall/Winter 2021 fashion shows, head to NYFW.com.