No Sesso Brought Upcycled Glamour and a Levi's Collab to NYFW

No Sesso Brought Upcycled Glamour and a Levi's Collab to NYFW

Story by Mario Abad / Photography by Hatnim Lee

No Sesso last showed in New York in 2019, the same year its co-designer Pia Davis made history as the first trans woman to have a slot on the official NYFW calendar. Along with Autumn Randolph, the two have since been honing their craft back home in Los Angeles, where the brand is based and has a strong following.

For their Fall 2022 collection, though, they were ready to make the return back to New York. After debuting a hand-crafted, couture-like Pre-Fall line a few weeks ago, No Sesso made its comeback on the NYFW runway at Performance Space New York, the community-based performance space. (Randolph has a background in dance and performing arts.)

"We wanted to come back with a fresh start and a bang," Davis says. "It's a continuation of the couture collection that we put out at the end of last year. We just thought that it would fit to show it in New York with the other brands that we're collaborating with."

One of those collaborations was with Levi's, an effort that started in 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic. The designers manipulated denim into laced-up corsetry, undergarments and lingerie — the No Sesso way, of course. A handbag molded in the shape of a full body corset in denim was one of the standouts. ("We didn't want to make a regular pair of Jeans," Davis says.)

The rest of their lineup ticked all the No Sesso boxes, along with some newer touches: Up-cycled dresses made from discarded knits, men's neckties crafted into tops and vintage varsity jackets pieces together to create standout outerwear. Models traced the runway while oozing sex and unabashed glamour.

While on paper the return to New York marked a comeback of sorts, the designers weren't in any rush to put out just any collection. "We always have some kind of artisanal, couture, really hands-on experience with our collections," Randolph says. "We also get stuff factory made, but there's something really special about us creating some of the pieces ourselves, which is not as traditional for most designers."

For future collections, they want to keep challenging themselves to create really cool pieces that make people think while evolving things like their signature patchwork and jewelry and taking it to another level while still keeping their core pieces accessible. "It's a way for our audience to buy more of the ready-to-wear pieces," Davis adds. "That's something we want to continue to do for the future."

Photography: Hatnim Lee