The Trump Administration is doing its best impersonation of a trash bag as it tries to keep Muslims outside its borders, but Vogue Arabia highlights the beauty and hustle of Muslim Somali-American model Halima Aden on the cover of its June issue. Mic.com reports that she is the first hijab-wearing model to cover any edition of Vogue.
Aden described the moment as “surreal” in an Instagram post yesterday (June 1). In a video on the magazine’s website, she talks about why it’s important for her to appear on the cover. “Every little girl deserves to see a role model that’s dressed like her, resembles her or even has the same characteristics as her. I think beauty is for everyone,” the 19-year-old model says.
Harlem’s Fashion Row has become a New York Fashion Week standard.
Founded and conceived by Brandice Henderson-Daniel, Harlem’s Fashion Row, known as HFR, held their 8th annual award and fashion show to lead off NYFW on Sept 10. A sea of people dressed in their most chic attires took over Chelsea Piers.
Some women stepped out in high-split bodycon dresses with sweetheart necklines, while others strutted in bright halter top jumpers.
But what made this scene different than many other packed New York Fashion Week events was the overflow of mahogany and brown faces congregating to support a group of entrepreneurs and creative minds that are widely overlooked.
Over the last 8 years, the event has become a hub where black celebrities and the black fashion elite collide, bringing together entertainers such as Sheryl Lee Ralph, Mary J. Blige and cultural influencers like Emil Wilbekin and Michaela Angela Davis.
One of the goals of HFR is to elevate and showcase up-and-coming designers of color. Most new designers struggle with finding the necessary funding to launch a line and what you’ll find here is a community that not only celebrates one another’s drive and goals, but one that also puts their money where their mouth is.
“Today we have fewer designers than we did in the 70s,” said Tai Beauchamp, host of TLC’s Dare to Wear. “What it really boils down to is financing and funding. The reality is that these designers have the talent and the will and the desire, but often times there aren’t any resources to do it.”
Davis noted that it’s harder for African-Americans to stay in the industry because of the amount of capital it takes to keep a line alive. “It’s not the same as writing or being a painter where you can produce without having a staff. In order to have full collections it takes a tremendous amount of work,” said Davis.
Harlem’s Fashion Row honored multicultural designers and prolific trendsetters, but most importantly, exhibited emerging fashion talent and provided them a platform to further bridge them to the fashion industry.
Tracee Ellis Ross: The Icon
The beautiful, funny and forevermore fashionable Tracee Ellis Ross received the Icon 360 Award. If you’ve followed Ross, especially on the red carpet or on Instagram, you would know that she’s become just as well-known for her bold style as her acting chops. She never shies away from showing off her figure in form fitting, body con dresses and playing with unique patterns and textiles on the red carpet.
After flipping through the September fall fashion issues of my favorite magazines with black “It Girls” such as Beyoncé, Kerry Washington, Serenaand Misty Copeland on their covers, I’m unusually interested in clothes. All that paging through magazines got me wondering: Where are all the black-owned fashion brands? Yes, of course well-known black brands still exist. Tracy Reese and Byron Lars are two of my favorites.
Digging into the rabbit hole of black designers led me to Fresh Dressed, a fascinating documentary from 2014 directed by Sacha Jenkins about the foundations of urban fashion that features some of the biggest names in fashion (Dapper Dan, Andre Leon Talley) and hip-hop (Kanye West, Nas). And it conveniently airs on Vimeo on Demand. One late-night click on my PayPal account and I was immersed in the world of pre-gentrified New York and hip-hop’s early years, which started the urban fashion apparel market. Sweet! Check out the trailer below:
Ready to take a walk down memory lane or learn the secret to how the brands so many of us wore in the ‘90s became hot (then not)? Check out Fresh Dressed. Here are 10 reasons the doc is worthwhile:
1. Unique fashion inspirations.
Customized leather jackets underneath denim vests—a fashion staple that was worn by street gang members who wanted to identify their affiliation—were inspired by 1969’s Easy Rider, a film about two bikers.
2. Jamel Shabazz photographs.
Brooklyn-born Shabazz spent the ‘80s taking iconic pictures of black street style and capturing the culture. His driving force? “[Black style] is interpreted around the world as just being fly,” Shabazz says in the documentary. “What I see is pride and dignity. I wanted the world to see [us] as something unlike they had seen before. That despite people’s condition, they were able to maintain a great deal of integrity and it is shown in the way people dress and the pride they take in having clean sneakers on.”
3. Random hip-hop fun facts.
Before Play of the rap duo Kid ‘n Play was a rapper, he was a graffiti artist who used denim jackets as his canvas. “People would pay me to paint their names on their jeans,” says Christopher “Play” Reid.
4. Dapper Dan was more popular than Louis Vuitton (among black people).
The (in)famous Harlem designer and boutique owner was best known for merging hip-hop fashion sensibilities with the logos of European fashion houses, such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Think tricking out the upholstery of Big Daddy Kane’s car with a red and black Gucci monogram print or maybe a red leather Gucci sweatsuit for Bobby Brown. “I blacken-ized [luxury] fashion” Dan boasts in Fresh Dressed. “I made it so it would look good on us.”
Nas, a producer of the documentary, takes the boasting a step further:
“Dapper Dan was Tom Ford before Tom Ford,” says the rapper. “He had the foresight to do what they [luxury brands] started doing five years, 10 years after him.”
5. The genesis of fat laces in sneakers.
Before wide laces were sold ready-made in stores, sneaker aficionados had to create their own by taking the laces out of the shoe, stretching them, starching them and then ironing them.
6. Mayor’s closet.
I’m not so into sneakers, but even I gasped looking at the walk-in closet of sneaker aficionado Mayor, who boasts of going 7.5 years without wearing the same pair of shoes twice. (That’s 2,737 pairs). He keeps his collection, which includes a significant number of Jordans, in a row of plastic containers that are as tall he is and estimates his collection is worth more than half a million dollars.
7. Rediscovering the Lo-Lifes.
This was a well-known “gang” in Brooklyn, N.Y., that didn’t identify itself by colors but by fashion logos, one in particular: Polo. Its criminal activity was mainly shoplifting Ralph Lauren clothing from department stores, and status in the group was determined by who wore the most exclusive wares best. For some, such as Lo-Life leader Thirstin Howl the 3rd (yes, like the millionaire from Gilligan’s Island), fashion is really that serious.
8. Learning how Tommy Hilfiger became so popular among black people.
Instead of offering endorsement deals to famous rappers, Hilfiger offered free clothes to the MCs—and in the neighborhoods where they came from. “Tommy Hilfiger would show up in the ‘hood and open up a trunk with clothes,” recalls Ralph McDaniels, who hosted the popular hip-hop TV show Video Music Box. “It was the drug dealer giving you a free hit. It was smart. He knew exactly what he was doing.”
9. That time GAP unwittingly spent $30 million on a FUBU commercial.
LL Cool J signed on to do a GAP commercial, but didn’t really believe the brand respected hip-hop culture, according to FUBU executive Daymond John. The rapper insisted on wearing a FUBU baseball cap in the commercial and even dropped a line that included FUBUs tagline, “For Us By Us.” “It basically became a FUBU commercial,” adds John. FUBU eventually became a $350 million business.
10. Learning that Tupac didn’t charge black people.
At the height of his fame, Tupac took a meeting with Karl Kani in which Kani pitched him to star in an upcoming ad campaign. “I ain’t gonna charge you; you black,” Pac told Kani. “I don’t charge my people for nothing.” Two weeks later, they did a photoshoot … free. Kani credits Pac with introducing him to a global market.
For those who haven’t had a chance to catch this traveling show honoring 50 Years of the Ebony Fashion Fair, there is still time for anyone in or travelling to Milwaukee, WI between now and May 3 to do so at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Originally displayed at the Chicago History Museum, “Inspiring Beauty” has been hosted by the Museum of Design in Atlanta as well.
According to Wikipedia, The Ebony Fashion Fair was founded in 1958 by Eunice Johnson and featured male and female models of mostly African-American descent modeling fashions from top European designers such as: Yves St Laurent, Oscar de la Renta, Pierre Cardin, Paco Rabanne, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Valentino and Emanuel Ungaro.The show raised $55 million for African-American charities. The show ended after the 2009 fair due to the death of Eunice Johnson in January 2010.
To learn more about the show or buy tickets online, click here.
NEW YORK – Basketball and celebrity superstar Shaquille O’Neal and Peerless Clothing have partnered to create a new fashion menswear collection. O’Neal recently launched the line exclusively at Macy’s, offering a line that ranges in sizes from regular to, fittingly, big and tall.
The Shaquille O’Neal Collection, available at 100 Macy’s stores nationwide and online at www.macys.com, will include suit separates and sport coats and patterns will include traditional solids, stripes, and plaids as well as more modern and unexpected sharkskin in shades of black, navy, tan and gray. Retailing from $150 for pants to $400 for a jacket, The Shaquille O’Neal Collection will allow the 60XL guy to shop in the same store as his size 40R friend.
“Shaq is one of the biggest stars in sports with a huge fan base and following. A favorite celebrity and personality that is larger than life. Fans everywhere love Shaq for his athletic accomplishments, and his successful foray into music, movies, television shows and business. They love his style, passion and charisma,” said Ronny Wurtzburger, president of Peerless Clothing. “When it comes to fashion, Shaq is a trendsetter not only for big and tall and regular size men, but he also has strong consumer appeal among African- and Hispanic-Americans, moms who relate to Shaq’s dedication to providing quality products at affordable prices, and kids who see him as their ultimate role model.”
“My interest in developing a menswear collection was based on my frustration with the lack of fashion for big and tall customers and the higher prices for larger size suits,” O’Neal said. “I was frustrated that I had to go to a big and tall store rather than shop with my friends at the local department or specialty store. I originally wanted to develop a more fashion-forward menswear collection at an affordable price. Once Peerless and I developed the collection, the reaction from Macy’s was so positive that we decided to make the collection in all sizes.”