So what if Wink's show, held on a frigid night in a cramped East Village office/gallery, started late and didn't have any seats? The downtown girls who love these funky, unfussy clothes don't care about sitting down.

For his part, Wink designer Wynn Smith wisely limited the collection to 16 well-edited looks, shown on a frieze of models standing on a narrow platform. The proximity allowed for close inspection of his distinguishing characteristics: the delicately frayed black jersey trim on a grey flannel shift, for example, or a witty sweater-coat styled to resemble a trench. Smith also showed a sure hand in styling, lending his outfits an extra dimension by playing off fragile fabrics against denser materials—corduroy with chiffon, twill with voile, chunky knits with flimsy pieces.

Wink is one of the few young fashion designers not itching to be an avant-garde darling. He seems more interested in the subtle art of injecting originality into fashion's tried-and-true formulas. Judging from his hipster following, the effort is paying off.