Krammer & Stoudt, spring 2019. Credit John Taggart for The New York Times
Courtenay Nearburg and Mike Rubin are at home with risk. Driving cross country from Southern California five years ago with all their earthly possessions in a U-Haul, they staked their future on the conviction that it was still possible to bootstrap your way to success in New York.
“We thought we were crazy because nobody just walks into this business,” Ms. Nearburg said before a Krammer & Stoudt presentation that justified the industry recognition bestowed on the pair in January, when Fashion Group International presented them with its Rising Star award. “It was New York that said that you can.”
And, while the show was themed around the couple’s first trip to Japan early this year, it was the energy of their adopted city that was showcased in a series of three 45-minute presentations that melded a jagged video montage of Shinto shrines, remixed music from a runaway pop hit with subversive lyrics about school shootings, an improv violinist and a gifted group of local Flex dancers to showcase the designers’ singular take on men’s wear.
Nothing felt literal about Mr. Rubin’s adaptation of kimono to make quilted swing jackets, or his proportioning of trousers to resemble those of traditional Japanese farmers or in the shorts suits he showed on nonbinary models. Somehow a collection easy to imagine Japanese hipsters wearing at Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo also looked like just the thing for steamy summer days here on Tar Beach.
Krammer & Stoudt, spring 2019. Credit Nowfashion