Spotify and CFDA Get New York Fashion Week Started With Its First-Ever Official Playlist

It’s fashion week in New York, and to kick things off we’ve partnered with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) to debut the first-ever Official Playlist of New York Fashion Week

This collaboration between Spotify and CFDA celebrates the vibrant creative community in New York City at the intersection of fashion and music, and includes contributions from Khaite, Mara Hoffman, Alice + Olivia, and Caroline Herrera, along with tracks that have inspired designers like ET OCHS, Kim Shui, and STAUD.

“There’s something special about the relationship between music and fashion that comes to life every year during Fashion Week. Whether it’s inspiring collections or soundtracking runway walks, music is the backdrop for so many of fashion’s biggest moments—and we have over 630,000 fashion-related playlists on Spotify to prove it,” said Dustee Jenkins, Chief Public Affairs Officer, Spotify. “That feels especially true here in New York, where fashion is the second-largest industry and where Spotify has its largest global office. We’re so excited to bring all of this magic together in our Official Playlist of New York Fashion Week.”

For those in New York, they’ll be able to easily listen to the sounds inspiring the runway thanks to Spotify’s billboard in Times Square. The billboard, which launches September 9 and runs throughout NYFW, features a QR code to take listeners directly to the playlist.

“Music plays an integral role in the designer’s creative process, culminating in the fashion show,” said Steven Kolb, CEO of CFDA. “The CFDA is excited to partner with Spotify on the Official Playlist of New York Fashion Week, which will bring the excitement of American fashion creativity to a worldwide audience.” 

Mayor Adams celebrates with Spotify and CFDA

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, along with CFDA Chairman Thom Browne and Spotify, hosted a cocktail party Thursday night at his Gracie Mansion residence to kick off NYFW.

Theophilio’s Edvin Thompson, who is a 2023 CVFF finalist and was honored as American Emerging Designer of the Year at the 2021 CFDA Fashion Awards, stepped in as the event’s DJ for the evening. Guests in attendance, which included the likes of Anna Wintour, Lukas Gage, Chris Appleton, Vera Wang, Derek Blasberg, and CFDA CEO Steven Kolb, also had the chance to celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop by viewing photos from Mayor Adams’ personal collection of hip-hop artists that were displayed throughout the space.

Steven Kolb, Dustee Jenkins, Eric Adams, Thom Browne, and Anna Wintour

Dustee Jenkins and Edvin Thompson

At the event, Mayor Adams offered a few remarks in honor of the upcoming week: 

“I believe that New York is the heart of fashion globally. The intersectionality of all of our cultures, the ways we do business, how we dress, and how we think are very much a part of what makes this city great. 

“And it’s the inspiration. The inspiration comes in many forms. And sometimes people have a tendency to believe that when you’re in a busy city like New York, you don’t get that inspiration. And it’s just so untrue.”

And Thom spoke on the collaboration between Spotify and CFDA: 

“This is also the first time the music of New York Fashion Week—which is so important to all of our shows—will be in a playlist. Spotify has been so generous in being able to support that and provide it for us.”

Ahead of the launch, For the Record spoke with fashion designer (and founder of her eponymous brand) Mara Hoffman, Carolina Herrera Creative Director Wes Gordon, Theophilio Founder and Creative Director Edvin Thompson, and Catherine Holstein, founder and creative director of Khaite. All three designers revealed what NYFW means to them, the role of music in their creative process, and the songs and artists that inspired their upcoming shows. 

What does NYFW mean to you?

Mara Hoffman: New York Fashion Week is an opportunity to see what the industry has been up to creatively and to share our newest body of work. It always has a “back to school” vibe, especially when it comes to the September shows. The city has a wonderful energy at this time, and it feels really good to get back to presenting again, and connecting with editors, designers and those who make it all go round. 

Wes Gordon: To stage a show during New York Fashion Week is to be part of what I love most about American fashion. Having so many people of different disciplines and talents come together to create these moments of fantasy and magic—the purest expression of a brand—is so special to me. 

Edvin Thompson: NYFW serves the platform to allow brands to spotlight their community and identity on a grand stage.

Catherine Holstein: New York Fashion Week is freedom for a wide range of designers to be on showcase. As we all are aware it’s really slimmed down from the hey day of early 2000s when it felt in its most triumphant state. However I see that as an opportunity to have a showcase and room to breathe, rather than an overcrowded calendar.

How do you infuse music into your creative process?

Mara: Music is hugely influential for me in all ways. It’s a way for me to connect inward, to focus, to dream, to be lifted,  and to be grounded. It’s with me at all times. My husband and son both share my love of music, and at home we play a wide range of artists.

Wes: Music is a very important part of my creative process. A muse will often emerge as I work on collections. In the case of our last show, my daughter Georgia was born around that time and we played Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind for the finale. It was a personal moment that felt so special to me. 

Edvin: I use music as a pillar for storytelling when crafting my designs.

Catherine: Music is a constant breath in and out of my mind when building the collection. I am telling the story of a woman, building her character, and whatever mood she (or I) am in the songs of her life flow in and out throughout the building process. In fact, I said I felt Radiohead’s “The National Anthem” should be starting song back in May, before we even had a collection at all, when we were just starting it. Sometimes I build the collection around the song. Not every time, but a lot.

What artists, songs, or genres were on your musical mood board for New York Fashion Week?

Mara: At the moment, the songs I have on repeat are “Los Pastores” by Chancha Via Circuito, “Dambala” by Exuma, and “You Are Mine” by Jay Robinson. I am definitely drawn to music with interesting drum sounds and beats; drums are known to ease anxiety, and promote relaxation and feelings of comfort. 

Wes: For this season, we are thinking about orchestral, dramatic soundtracks from ’90s films, but also incorporating one or two tracks that are fun. 

Edvin: When it comes to artists, I’d say Sexyy Redd, Asake, Amaarae, and Timberly. In terms of genre, I’d say Amapiano!

Catherine: I still listen to everything I grew up with on repeat. For me it’s always David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, a little Keith Richards, a little Sid Vicious, and PJ Harvey.

Who are your biggest sources of inspiration? 

Mara: It is very hard to land on a set list of what inspires me, but I would say nature and spirit are always omnipresent, and a driving force behind the brand. The women I get to work with every day, the women who wear our clothes, the women who make our clothes, the community that supports each other in this work all have a passion for nature and push for circular fashion, social justice, and doing what we can to safeguard it. These are probably the most important aspects of the work that get me up every day and inspire me to keep at it. 

Wes: Carolina Herrera the woman continues to be an inspiration for me as a mentor, a friend, and a muse. 

Edvin: My biggest sources of inspiration are my family and friends.

Catherine: Well you might say the music, actually. And tapping into my most nostalgic— hose deja vu moments that send chills down your spine.

Can’t get enough of the runway? Discover the sounds that influenced Luar founder Raul Lopez’s latest collection on our playlist Fashion Forward.