Meet the Women at the Forefront of Influence this NYFW


NYFW is over for another season, and through blurry eyes we're looking back at the women who, from debuts to production and analysis, wielded the most influence over the course of this crazy week.

As ever, the week was full of surprises, with the designers who chose to present in New York, wowing the crowds from the streets of Brooklyn, to the American Museum of Natural History, the Park Avenue Armory and beyond. It was a week of big debuts, show-stopping returns and fashion history in the making.

We've rounded up five powerful (influencers) we think were a force behind NYFW and deserve to be recognized. From new designers to runway reviewers these ladies embody what it truly means to be influential during fashion week.

Kheris Rogers, Breakout NYFW Designer

Kheris Rogers. Photo courtesy of Afropunk

The youngest of the bunch, 11-year-old Kheris Rogers made headlines this week as she debuted her diversity-driven t-shirt collection.

Rogers was bullied in school for her dark-colored skin and would come home crying from school, her self-esteem shook. The negativity began to impact her life drastically, and realizing this, Rogers' older sister, Taylor Pollard, took action. Pollard posted pictures of her younger sister on Twitter with the hashtag, #FlexinInHerComplexion. The tweet subsequently went viral and was retweeted over 30,000 times. Rogers began to regain her confidence and had a motive. She wanted to make a positive difference in society.

Rogers went on to launch a t-shirt line with the slogan, “Flexin' In My Complexion," showcasing her creative ability to build upon a trend she saw a market for. Making history on Sunday, September 10th, she became the youngest designer to show off her collection during New York Fashion Week. She presented her clothing line at the Museum of the City of New York in East Harlem. The show included models with different skin tones to promote diversity, and amplify her message. We salute you, Kheris.

Justine Marjan, Global Stylist, TRESemmé

Justine Marjan

TRESemmé's go-to girl for all things fashion week SS18 was Justine Marjan, who headed up the hair department for an eye-watering line-up of shows this season. Marjan lead her team for

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SWAAY caught up with Marjan at her last show, Alice + Olivia, where constructing an effortless rock-chic look was the task at hand. "The clothes are pretty feminine so they wanted to edge it up," Marjan smiled as she explained her flat iron technique to those of us ogling her GHD prowess.

Sarah Lucero, Global Executive Director of Creative Artistry, Stila Cosmetics

Sarah Lucero. Photo courtesy of Into the Gloss

Make up artists - their work is splattered all over the runways, editorial pages and spreads, but it's too often they're forgotten in the mounds written about the week itself.

Sarah Lucero has been a force at NYFW for many seasons now on Stila's behalf. This season, Lucero headed her team for five shows; sculpting faces at KUR, Cinq a Sept, Banana Republic, BCBG and Cynthia Rowley.

Catching up with Lucero backstage at Cinq á Sept, she meticulously walked us through the shimmering look for the upcoming show. Stila, having launched their new product, the Glitter and Glow liquid eyeshadow were debuting it on the models of the hour. Talking us through the bold face and how it correlates with the line, Lucero comments "it's very tailored, very structured, there's a sophistication that I love about it. It's very Stila!"

Nicole Phelps, Director, Vogue Runway

There is tons NYFW news coverage - so so much, we could spend hours reading. But of that coverage, it's inevitable that Vogue rules the roost. With access and an army, comes great content.

Nicole Phelps, Director of Vogue Runway since 2015, is our go-to for all things fashion week. Her no-frills, show reviews are incredibly well done, encapsulating the essence of each runway within her opinion, without sounding like she's churning out her 5000th runway review, which she is. Phelps has been doing this, and doing it exceptionally well, for years now, on behalf of Elle, WWD, and

Nicole Phelps. Photo courtesy of Vogue/Benedict Brink

Kaia Gerber, Model of the Week

The Gigi's and Kendall's of the world were somewhat, if not totally eclipsed this week by the new gal in town - Kaia Gerber, the offspring of supermodel and legend Cindy Crawford.

Gerber walked in five shows, beginning with a bang at Calvin Klein, strutting the streets at Alexander Wang's #Wangfest, donning some psychedelic streetwear at Rihanna's Fenty x Puma and finishing off with Coach and Marc Jacobs.

Kaia Gerber at COACH. Photo courtesy of Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty

At just 16, Gerber's future looks incredibly bright, and we're eagerly anticipating where next she might show up next on a catwalk. If this week is anything to go by - it will inevitably be somewhere fabulous.


Male Managers Afraid To Mentor Women In Wake Of #MeToo Movement

Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.

In a recent study conducted by, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.

What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.

Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.

Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.

While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.

According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.

In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.

Source-Alex Brandon, AP

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of, believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.

Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.

The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.