Essence continues to double down on live events.
The magazine, which targets African-American women, will hold its third annual Essence Street Style Block Party on Sept. 10 during New York Fashion Week.
“Every year it gets bigger and bigger,” said Vanessa De Luca, the editor in chief of Essence. “It’s really all about celebrating real women and their style in a daylong celebration and honoring the men and women that are acknowledged in the September issue.”
For the September issue, Uzo Aduba of “Orange Is the New Black” appears on the cover — De Luca said the actress has a distinct sense of style and embodies self-acceptance. Within the issue, Essence honors the following: singer Kelly Rowland has received the Closet Crush award; Law Roach, the stylist behind Zendaya and Céline Dion’s progressive looks, has been named Style Disruptor; dancer-turned-actress Khadija Shari won the Curator of Cool distinction; blogger Blake Von D is being recognized with the Chevy Street Style Maven award, and Romeo Hunte, a Brooklyn designer who’s dressed Beyoncé, is being named Designer to Watch.
Previously, Essence honored its awardees at a separate dinner after the Street Style Block Party, but this time around these awards will be integrated into the festival, which is being sponsored by Chevrolet and Shea Moisture, which are returning advertisers.
Essence is no stranger to live events. The magazine has operated the Essence Festival for the last 22 years and this year introduced the Beauty and Style Expo within the festival, which took place in New Orleans last June. Speakers included Tyra Banks, Misty Copeland and singer Lion Babe.
“We had a tremendous response to the beauty and style expo,” De Luca told WWD. “These events give sponsors an opportunity to connect to their audience in a way they don’t have by just being adjacent to content in digital or in print. It helps them see that we are an authority in the space and gives us an opportunity to see what our audience cares about.”