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Wednesday 1st of February 2023

Nairobi, Kenya

Covid Or Not, The Show Must Go On: New York Fashion Week Kicks Off

Fall/Winter 2022 shows get underway at New York Fashion week with Proenza Schouler and Christian Cowan showing their lively collections.

Experimentation, play, and glitter: a coronavirus-impacted New York Fashion Week got underway on Friday with Fall/Winter 2022 shows by Proenza Schouler and Christian Cowan.

Experimentation’ At New York Fashion Week

In its collection, presented in an art gallery in Manhattan’s trendy East Village, New York brand Proenza Schouler played with shape, contrasting fitted waists with loose or slightly rounded skirts.

Designer Lazaro Hernandez said the idea was to exaggerate and juxtapose different forms to respond to “this whole body obsession these days with social media and everyone showing the body.”

Model Bella Hadid wore an outfit featuring buttoned sleeves, accentuated shoulders, and a black velvet hooded top – giving off a Catwoman vibe.

“Experimentation and play are key, perhaps now more than ever,” Proenza said of its collection.

Christian Cowan Showcases ‘glamour’ At New York Fashion Week

Christian Cowan – who has dressed Lady Gaga and rappers Cardi B and Lil Nas X – presented his collection in the observatory atop the One World Trade Center skyscraper that replaced the Twin Towers felled on 9/11.

The show had the atmosphere of a nightclub, highlighting the British designer’s taste for glitter and glamour.

Ahead of the runway, the label teased fans with what might be in store by posting an image of the “Freedom Tower” all in pink on its Instagram page.

Tom Ford Cancels New York Fashion Week Show

Despite pandemic restrictions and the Omicron variant upsetting preparations, several other brands have opted for in-person shows, including Michael Kors, Altuzarra, Tory Burch, Brandon Maxwell, and Telfar.

A notable absence was Tom Ford, chair of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) that organizes the event.

He was due to close the week next Wednesday but canceled at the end of January due to a surge of COVID-19 cases among his team.

“We have tried everything possible to avoid canceling our New York show but ultimately are faced with the sad fact that we will simply not have a completed collection in time,” he said.

Opportunity For Emerging Talents To Showcase At New York Fashion Week

For several years now, New York has had to deal with big names deciding to skip the event in favor of displaying their latest collections elsewhere.

Some designers are also choosing to eschew the classic runway calendar, with growing criticism that the frantic pace of fashion is out of step with sustainability.

The absence of top creators like Christopher John Rogers – the CFDA’s women’s designer of the year 2021 – and Kerby Jean-Raymond’s Pyer Moss brand, also provided an opportunity for emerging talents to grab the headlines.

Or at least that is the hope of labels such as Melke and Dauphinette, which promote sustainable and ethical fashion.

“It is really rewarding realizing that people can see the work that I’ve been doing and they think that it deserves a place amongst a bunch of other very successful brands,” 26-year-old Emma Gage, who founded Melke during the pandemic, told AFP.

“It kind of really solidifies you as someone that people know is going to be around for a long time,” she said inside her small studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Content Courtesy of AFP, The South African & NFH 

Politics Comes To The Runway : When Pyer Moss Brought Police Brutality To The Runway

In the last two years, Kerby Jean-Raymond, the founder of Pyer Moss, has become something of a New York Fashion Week star, famous for taking the African-American experience and putting it front and center on the runway, using such inspiration figures as the black cowboy and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. He has won the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award, become artistic director of Reebok Studies and collaborated with Hennessy.

But in 2015, he almost went out of business after a show that opened with a 12-minute video about police brutality titled “This Is an Intervention.” It featured interviews with the relatives of many of the black men who had been killed by police: Eric Garner, Marlon Brown, Sean Bell. Praised and excoriated in almost equal measure, the show thrust the then largely unknown label into the spotlight, and was the first time a designer forced fashion to grapple with its own culpability regarding race.

This is its story and the first time the video has been shared since that time.

Kerby Jean-Raymond, founder and creative director of Pyer Moss

In July we had done a standing presentation in TriBeCa for men’s wear called “Ota Benga.” At the time, the case of Mike Brown was getting public attention, and Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner. Ota Benga was an African man who was kept in the Bronx zoo ’til 1906. We wanted to juxtapose this story with the modern-day prison system and police brutality, to show we shouldn’t be repeating these mistakes.

But at the event I realized it was going over everyone’s heads. People were having a good time. They were reacting, but they weren’t reacting the way I wanted them to. So that night at dinner we were like, “Let’s turn this into a runway and do a second show.” Two months later, we did a women’s collection for the first time.

Brittney Escovedo, show producer, Beyond 8
We spoke a lot about the fact this industry is in a lot of ways, and especially at that point, not penetrated by these stories. They’re not talking about it. The editors, the journalists, the influencers that come to these fashion shows aren’t thinking about these issues. So we have 20 minutes of people’s attention, and we can use it as an opportunity.

The designer Kerby Jean-Raymond, left, and the artist Gregory Siff backstage.Credit…Rob Kim/Getty Images for Pyer Moss

Kerby Jean-Raymond
Before that, we were strictly a men’s wear brand. The company wasn’t doing well. I was in a partnership with a backer, and they were pretty much fed up. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I didn’t address these issues. I was prepared for it to be my last show.

Dario Calmese, show director, then casting director
So much of one’s existence in the fashion space was trying not to ruffle too many feathers. For you to take a stand as a quote-unquote black person would kind of eliminate you.

Kerby Jean-Raymond
I knew I wanted a video, knew I wanted an experiential element. A live art element. Wanted Brenmar to do the music live. There were a lot of moving parts. It was probably the most complicated thing I had done. We started shooting a guerilla-style documentary that featured Usher, people in the fashion industry and the family members of victims of police brutality. I think we shot the whole thing for $1,500.

Brittney Escovedo
It wasn’t hard for me to reach out to the families because I felt like it was important, but it was hard for them to trust us and to understand what our motives were. I remember having multiple conversations sharing who I am, who Kerby is, what the brand stands for and that this wasn’t just about death and loss. It was about what this could be: education, love, so much more than just being shot.

Shikeith, artist and one of the “This Is an Intervention” editors
Kerby and his team handled the principal photography for the project — they had shot the footage of the interviews. There was a decision to include YouTube clips of police brutality, to project light on what was happening all around this country. There were hours and hours of footage of various public figures. I remember sitting with all of that in front of me, at 24.

Dario Calmese
We knew that we were all taking a risk, and it was very important that we all do it together the entire team. It was almost like a pact that we signed up for, because although Kerby wanted to make a statement, we were all part of that statement.

Clara Jeon, publicist
Then we lost a venue.

Brittney Escovedo
We had talked to the New Museum about potentially having it there, and once we shared what the show was about, they just declined and said we couldn’t have the event there.

Kerby Jean-Raymond
We had to scramble and ended up with a venue that was too big and way out of our price range, the Altman Building on 18th Street. We ended up paying close to $20,000, which was definitely money we didn’t have.

Clara Jeon
I remember thinking, “Wow, maybe this is a sign that we’re not supposed to do this.” I was really scared about what people would say. We already had some people we thought were partners backing out before anything had even gone public. What if fashion media  who at the time weren’t even covering Pyer Moss widely what if this is the thing that makes them not take us seriously as a fashion brand? I don’t think people realize how close we came to not doing this show and canceling it altogether.

Kerby Jean-Raymond
Then, right before we did the show, right outside my apartment in Southside Jamaica, Queens, I had a cast on my hand, was talking to my sister on the phone, was coming in from buying a beef patty, and I look up and I hear, “Put it down, put it down!” And these cops had their guns drawn on me.

Mr. Jean-Raymond invited families of victims of police brutality to sit in his front row. Credit…via Pyer Moss

Clara Jeon
He told me the next day, when we were walking around SoHo. He said, “I could have gotten shot last night.” That was the time I’m not black when I felt what the black community must feel all the time, that fear of losing your friend or your son or your husband at any given moment over just living your life. That was when my mind was made up. I was like, we need to do this.

Kerby Jean-Raymond
I wanted to invite the families of the victims. Editors and whomever was coming to the show — they would have another opportunity to be at a show, but these people deserved to be honored. So I was like: The front row is yours. Press and editors can sit second row.

Clara Jeon
Seating is extremely stressful for publicists, because it is very political. It is the way a brand communicates to editors and publishers their relationship with them or priorities. I pre-emptively tried to explain that it would be the families of victims in the first row, so the second row is the best seating available. The majority of press understood. A couple would not come to the show.

Kerby Jean-Raymond
It was crazy, because most of the I’m-not-comings came from black stylists.

Dario Calmese
We really wanted a diverse cast. I don’t think we were at the point where we were making a statement with casting all-black models. But we definitely wanted to open with one and make sure they had a substantial presence on the runway. The casting job continued all the way up until the show because one model was stuck in fittings for, I believe, Alexander Wang, and I actually had to pull a blogger from the audience and put her in the show. I told her: “Give us your Venmo. We’ll send you some cash.” I didn’t know her name. She just came to enjoy the show.

Jon Reyman, hairstylist, Aveda
Kerby and I had talked about what he wanted a few days before whether it should be big, or small, or sort of like a flat top but right before the show he called me and said he just wanted it as simple as possible, so it would almost disappear. So it wouldn’t call any attention to itself, or be part of the story.

Kerby Jean-Raymond
What I initially wanted to do was not even have clothes and put everyone in tights. I wanted everyone to feel a sense of nakedness, to put black bodies on display.

Clara Jeon
That had actually been a discussion in the days leading up to the show: Do we even show clothes? Is that still something we do? But it’s a fashion show. People come to see clothes. And we wanted to make it clear that we wanted to be at the forefront of a conversation in fashion, within the industry, where this was just not talked about ever.

Shikeith
Outside of the show, there was a truck that had a projection of one of the designs that I made, a globe that said “Pyer Moss News.” As it pertains to the media, and how black life and blackness is portrayed, there’s a sort of a reductive lineage that is caught up in caricature and stereotype all racist, all symptoms of white supremacy. For the show, it was important to emphasize the control we had over the narrative through this signifier of “Pyer Moss News,” to represent taking control of the narrative and speaking to truth.

The show began with a 12-minute video about racism in America. Credit…via Pyer Moss

Gregory Siff, artist who spray-painted the collection live
Everything is dark. The audience is out there. The film goes on, and it’s like a punch to your gut.

Clara Jeon
We didn’t really tell people what to expect. We maybe should have, but I would say 99.9 percent of that room had no idea what they were sitting down to watch. After the video, there was 2 to 3 seconds of complete silence before people started to applaud.

Kerby Jean-Raymond
After the movie, people were gasping, some people were crying, some people walked out, and I started to get cold feet about what we were doing. I told Dario not to send the models out. And he got so combative with me and was like: “I’m sending them out! I’m sending them out!” I was just standing behind the projector screen. I was like a little kid in trouble because of what we’d just shown everyone.

Gregory Siff
Then Kerby whispers to me he was next to me “Now, go out there and shake the can.” It was all silent, in the dark, and then the lights come on, and I am shaking this can.

Brittney Escovedo
The models all stood on a U-shaped runway, and they stayed there, straight-faced, and you could actually feel the life and souls of those we had lost in the models that were standing there.

Dario Calmese
We’re always trying to marry runway and presentation. So the models were coming out in this really kind of militaristic style, but in rehearsal I didn’t have enough time to figure out how to cue them to move to the next spot. So I was like, “I’ll just stand in the middle of the runway, and scream ‘Go!’” And every time I did, the models would move.

Gregory Siff
I think there were three to five models I painted. For me, it all happened so quickly. I was reacting in the moment. I had painted all the boots beforehand: a lot of repetition of “I can’t breathe,” which was Eric Garner. “Call my Mama.” Some of the shoes had black overspray. But having written so many times on the shoes, “I can’t breathe,” I felt like I needed to write the opposite. So the last line I painted was “breathe, breathe, breathe” on the back of one of the jackets.

Dario Calmese
The last model didn’t get the instruction right Gregory had spray-painted on the back of her jacket, but you couldn’t see it. So I walked onto the runway and grabbed her shoulders and threw her around. I think I might have made the last picture on Style.com.

Mr. Calmese went onto the runway to turn a model so that the words on her jacket would be visible to the audience.Credit…Alessandro Lucioni/Imaxtree

Kerby Jean-Raymond
I was watching the crowd reaction from the side of the stage, and everyone was off their phones. There’s very little video footage from that show because people were off their phones. At the end, people wanted to clap, but we shut the lights off and you heard Oscar Grant’s mom she had sent us audio because she couldn’t come and that put everyone back in their seat.

Jon Reyman
Charity events, galas are used to celebrate and bring awareness and raise money. But this was the first time I saw a designer really using his fashion as a platform to speak out against injustice, and so overtly. It was very much: I have you captured in the audience, you’ve shown up, and I am going to show you something you may not know about.

Clara Jeon
While there was a lot of public positivity in the press that covered it, a lot of support in terms of sympathizing with the black victims and wanting to help address the issue, it also opened us up to direct attacks on social media: backlash from white supremacists, people who thought that our message was an attack on police and would send us #bluelivesmatter messages, who said we had no business showing something like this at a fashion show.

Kerby Jean-Raymond
I started getting death threats. They had me on a watch list for stormfront.org, a white supremacy forum. I was getting emails like “I’m going to kill you nigger.” Lots of stores dropped their orders. It put me in a really dark place.

Brittney Escovedo
Kerby didn’t know if his business would stay around or if he was going to make it. And once he did, and got through, that set the tone for him understanding the importance and significance of being a black man in America, a black designer, and solidified his voice and all of our purpose.

Dario Calmese
A big question is: What was the impact? How are we moving forward? What lessons have been learned? Have there been any lessons learned?

This article originally appeared on New York Times 

Top 10 Fashion Shows Events In The World

The fashion industry provides the world with a full calendar of fashion show events from across the world. From runway shows to trade shows, the fashion world knows how to keep busy. But which events are not to be missed? As most things in the world, not all fashion events are created equal. Some events just top the hot list year after year.

Here is a list of the top ten annual fashion events to attend, or at least dream of attending don’t forget to add them your bucket list.

1. Paris Fashion Week

The greatest of all fashion shows, it is one of the most celebrated fashion weeks held in bi-annually in Paris one of the four fashion capitals of the world. The event is held to showcase Spring-Summer and Autumn-Winter collections at the respective times of each year. Many of the notables in the fashion industry, as well as the well-known connoisseurs of fashion attend the event to view the designs.

Some of the famous designers who place their latest creations on display include Dior, Paul Smith, Louis Vuitton, Nina Ricci, Lanvin, Julien David, Barbara Bui, Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood, Givenchy, Alexander McQueen, Chanel, Valentino, Miu Miu

2. New York Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week is a biannual event which occurs in February and September of each in New York, one of the primary fashion capitals around the globe. The New York Fashion Week event is considered to be among the four major fashion weeks in the world next to London, Milan, and Paris.

The event is attended by some of the biggest fashion names in the industry including Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Dianne von Furstenberg, Tommy Hilfiger, Herve Leger, Brooks Brothers, Alexander Wang, and many more. It was established in the early 1940s and was the first fashion event across the world. The purpose of the event is showcase American fashions which ordinarily play a secondary role to French designs.

3. Milan Fashion Week

Milan Fashion Week (Italian: Settimana della moda) is a clothing trade show held semi-annually in Milan, Italy. The autumn/winter event is held in February/March of each year, and thespring/summer event is held in September/October of each year. An event of glitz and glamour in Milan, Italy among the big Four Fashion Capitals around the world, the Milan Fashion Week occurs bi-annually like its counterparts every year.

It is scheduled in the months of February-March for the Spring Summer Collection and September- October for the Autumn Winter Collection. It begun in the year 1958 and since has been counted as one of the most illustrious shows the world over. Prestigious fashion houses are part of this event which includes Dolce & Gabanna, Roberto Cavalli, Gucci, and Prada among others.

4. London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week is one of the primary four fashion week events around the globe which takes place bi- annually during February and September. The event showcases the latest trends and designs in womenswear and is attended by top designers and fashion houses in the industry who flock to the event to exhibit their latest creations.

It was launched in the early 1980s and is organised by the British Fashion Council discussed earlier.

Some of the designer fashions on exhibit include Antonio Berardi, Alexander White, Burberry, Beth Gilmour, Christopher Kane, Claire Barrow, David Koma, Eudon Choi, Erdem, Finlay & Co., Giles, Holly Fulton, Jasper Conran, Kevin Geddes, Lucilla Gray, Margaret Howell, Noel Stewart, Osman, Simone Rocha, Vivienne Westwood, and many more.

5. Berlin Fashion Week

Berlin Fashion Week is a relatively new event which takes place at Brandbenburg Gate each year during the months of January and July. The event was initiated in 2007 with the purpose of showcasing up and coming designer’s creations. Berlin Fashion Week is a collaborative effort of the Berlin Senate and the Berlin Partner GmbH, the central contact agency for overseeing new operations and foreign trade to promote Berlin as a business hub. The event is sponsored by Mercedes-Benz which also sponsors a series of other fashion industry events.

Since the establishment of the Berlin Fashion Week event almost a decade ago, the event has gained international status for many new and upcoming designers. The designers are bringing their fashions to the Berlin capital in an effort to get started on their way in the highly competitive fashion industry. Attendees can view fashions from designers such as Dorothee Schumacher, Ewa Herzog, Fyodor Golan, Emre Ernemoglu, and more.

6. Australian Fashion Week

The Australian Fashion Week is an annual event held in the country which aims to feature the works of fashion houses and designers from the Australian and Asia Pacific regions. It was first held in the year 1995. This event brings the designers and the retail buyers under one roof and helps the latter to purchase the latest in fashion from them.

Some of the noted Fashion names associated with this event include Lisa Ho, Alex Perry, Zimmermann, Toni Maticevski, Leona Edmiston, J’Aton Couture, Ericaamerica and more.

7. Dubai Shopping Festival

Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) started on 16 February 1996 as a retail event intended to benefit retail trade in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It has since been promoted as a tourist attraction.It is an annual month-long event, usually scheduled during the first quarter of the year, and attracts about 3 million people to Dubai.

Over the 30 day period, visitors have access to the best fashion brands from around the world with special deals and promotions, in addition to attending a variety of arts and cultural events. The events take place in the Mall of the Emirates and include The International Festival of Fashion Photography from Cannes which is an extraordinary showcase of the latest beauty and fashion photography in large format by notable fashion photographers.

You can also experience events such as The Diamond Fashion Show by Dhamani which features notable jewellery designers who showcase their exquisite designs against a sparkling Burj Khalifa backdrop. The Dubai Shopping Festival website is a great place to discover more interesting fashion events during this annual extravaganza.

8. Tokyo Fashion Week

The Japanese are known for excelling in whatever they do. Fashion is not an area where they are lagging in any respect. The Tokyo Fashion Week is an event which has steadily climbed up the charts of popularity over the years.

The styles and trends showcased are bold and often very experimental. Some of the most unusual fashion trends have come out into the world through the Tokyo Fashion Week and it wouldn’t be a surprise if this event slowly becomes one of the best in the industry.

9. Africa Fashion Week London

Founded in 2011 by Ronke Ademiluyi, Africa Fashion Week London ( AFWL ) is Europe’s largest fashion event promoting and nurturing African and African-inspired design talent ,with a collaborative catwalk, exhibition and business development program, AFWL has led the way in highlighting Africa’s emerging designers and apparel industry and has been at the forefront of bringing awareness of Africa’s burgeoning fashion industry to the international market.

Since 2011, AFWL has hosted 8 catwalk events and contributed expertise to at least 10 more events produced by 3rd parties such as The Mayor of London’s Black History Month celebrations, they  have also showcased over 800 emerging designers & exhibitors, from Africa, Europe and America, to almost 70,000 visitors including buyers, retailers, influential industry professionals, and the media and is now a highlight on the annual fashion calendar.

AFWL brings value to designers through, contacts, experience and knowledge within the fashion community, with a core team made up of experienced fashion industry experts and business professionals, AFWL is committed to creating a platform for African and African inspired designers that not only showcases them to an international market, but also supports them in building a sustainable business that is globally recognized and promotes social change in Africa.

10. Los Angeles Fashion week

Los Angeles Fashion Week takes place twice, annually in numerous locations throughout the Los Angeles area. Currently, three event producers hold multiple day runway shows concurrent with Market Week (also known as LA Fashion Market).

While there are several productions that take place throughout the county of Los Angeles, a number of city officials, including Mayor Eric Garcetti and District 14 council member Jose Huizar, have awarded event organizers LAFW the official event status

CFDA Fashion Awards

The CFDA Fashion Awards, also known as the Fashion industry Oscars, this annual event recognizes individuals in the American Fashion Industry with awards for design excellence and extraordinary accomplishments in journalism and creative vision, according to the CFDA.

There is also a lifetime achievement given each year. But the highlight of this award show is of course the red carpet. Stars and industry people dress to impress in the best of high fashion. It is not only an event; it is a star studded runway show.

Fashion shows debut every season, particularly the Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter seasons,this is where the latest fashion trends are made.

Content courtesy of Nairobi fashion hub Digital Team

 

Will Serena Williams Be Following in Rihanna’s Footsteps and Launching a Luxury Line?

Leave it to Serena Williams to make a fashion show so much more than just a fashion show. The tennis pro showed her S by Serena collection at New York Fashion Week and managed to snag none other than noted tennis super-fan Anna Wintour for a quick Q&A after the presentation. The show, which Williams is calling a capsule collection, was an authentic way for the designer to show her love for fashion and her innate ability to make clothes that people actually want to wear just ask her pal Meghan Markle.
Right now, S by Serena is see now, buy now and it’s working. Fans are buying up pieces and sharing their favorites on social media, much to Williams’s delight. But she’s not ruling out something in the luxury space.

Williams went to school for fashion design and although her line’s not in the same conversations as luxury brands, such as Rihanna’s new Fenty line, it could be. She’s not ruling out the possibility of releasing a special capsule within a capsule, which would be a way of giving some shoppers what they want without completely alienating some of her other fans.

“See now, buy now is great. I would love to do luxury, but I feel like I also want to be true and authentic to people that support the brand for years,” she explained. “And so, if we do a luxury capsule, it’ll be really small one day in the future. But I love the idea of see now, buy now, and really do it in a good way.”

Williams also spoke about sustainability and how S by Serena has embraced vegan leather and other unconventional materials. And even though vegan leather doesn’t sound glam, Williams managed to mix in animal prints to up the glitz and curate the collection so it was nothing but all of her favorite things.

“The collection dabbles a little bit in a lot of gold. We experimented with different animal prints; we focused on giraffe. And then we focused on the sustainability aspect of having vegan leather,” she said. “And so that’s kind of what we wanted to focus on and just build from there. So it’s a small capsule I call it a capsule. I’ve never showed in February. So I’m like, ‘Let’s do something but keep it small. And what are some things that really mean a lot to me?’ And those really stood out.”

For fans of the line, there’s a lot to love. Keep an eye out for a certain former royal to step out in Williams’s designs, just in case there’s any question that see now, buy now can’t look like something luxurious.

This article originally appeared on Instyle 

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