Once upon a time, Rag & Bone was one of fashion week’s most hotly anticipated shows. The brand’s front rows were loaded with A-list celebs and received praise for providing snacks, such as popcorn and donuts, plus bottles of beer for each and every attendee. But much has changed since those days of yore—for one, the brand is down one founder (David Neville stepped down from the company in 2016) and Marcus Wainwright has since taken the reins solo, as the CEO and creative director.
He has also opted to withhold the brand from New York Fashion Week this September.
“For a while now I (along with what seems to be a lot of people!) have been questioning the effectiveness of the traditional fashion system, particularly for rag & bone. Coupled with everything that’s going on in the world today, it felt somewhat tone deaf to do a runway show or throw a huge event,” said Wainwright in a statement. “So while we are huge believers in NYFW, and in many ways have it to thank for so much, we are opting out of being on the calendar this season and instead are doing something that we feel is more relevant, impactful and meaningful.”
The result is, indeed, impactful. The brand clearly took the resources they usually pour into a vast runway production and used it to create something that would not only present their cool and casual clothes, like plaid suits for girls and bomber jackets for boys, but actually give back to communities in need. The result is a lookbook, but not your average lookbook.
They cast a strong lineup of models (which is thankfully devoid of the usual Hadids and a Jenner), including Camilla Deterre, 69-year-old Maye Musk, Cameron Russell, Mayowa Nicholas and Laura Love. They also tapped a varying crew of celebs and influences, such as meme king Elliot Tebele (of the @fuckjerry Instagram account), Miami Dolphins defensive end Andre Branch, actors Paul Sparks and Bobby Cannavale, female surfer Quincy Davis, Olympic fencer Miles Chamley-Watson and Lauryn Hill’s daughter, Selah Marley.
There was no famous fashion photographer tied to these images—each of the stars snapped their own self portrait and was allowed creative freedom to do as they wish. For movement artist Lil Buck, that included a mid-air jumping shot that looked like an extremely complicated feat. The stars also weren’t paid for the shoot, but were instead asked to donate to a charitable function of their choice. Some picked Oceana, a non-profit aimed at saving the oceans, while others picked the Lupus Foundation of America. Others, of course, sent their funds directly to The American Red Cross and the Houston Humane Society, to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Finally, it seems someone in fashion has figured out a way to flip the script on fashion week—serving up good fashion, helping the world at large and doing something entirely unexpected.