Kim Shui and Afterpay Brought a First-Of-It’s-Kind Crowdsourced Runway Show to Grand Central Station

Designer Kim Shui’s SS23 presentation was characterized by femininity, displayed through delicate silhouettes and sheer, breezy materials. All looks simultaneously showcased strength, empowering each model and those who choose to wear Shui’s looks off the runway. Shui also wanted to empower other creatives in her space as well as fashion fans to aspire to reach their goals, by decentralizing the runway through crowdsourcing talent, the show’s music track, and a one-of-a-kind garment.

Celebrating the self by portraying personal strength is something Shui continually aims to accomplish through her designs. Partnering with the principal partner of New York Fashion Week this season, Afterpay, this notion was emphasized through an accessibility-first approach to the designer’s show. The designer collected over 700 pixels from the public to design a digital-first cap sleeve dress that debuted during the runway presentation. The public was invited to contribute original artwork which was then incorporated into digital art, created by Shui, producing a garment that was truly unlike any other. The dress will be commemorated by rendering it into an NFT, which will later be dispersed to every artwork contributor.

Not only did Kim Shui call upon the masses to create a revolutionary piece, but she also decided to host the show in the heart of one of the most bustling areas of the city. Grand Central Station is a hub for commuters, and by hosting a traditionally exclusive event in a highly communal area, Shui peeled back the curtains behind the highly-coveted experience, allowing passersby to get a sneak peak at the action — from the pre-show run throughs to the backstage shuffle.

The barrier-breaking creative wanted to fully democratize all aspects of the week, so she didn’t just stop there. Shui even took to the internet to promote a nationwide open-casting call for models, stylists, and photographers prior to the show, giving emerging talent the chance to break into the industry. Over 4,000 submissions were received, bringing fresh talent to the stunning spectacle.

As a final touch, Shui and Afterpay also incorporated a crowdsourced soundtrack into the show with the help of TIDAL. The 16-minute collaborative soundtrack includes anecdotes from fans, co-created by Shui, producer Stelios, and Rising Artist talent. The sum of all of these parts yields the notion that fashion should be more accessible to all. By looking to the internet for key inspiration, Kim Shui has set the precedent that the community is open to every individual, no matter their interests or backgrounds.

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