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.