Harlem Fashion Row, which showcases emerging designers of color, hosted its style awards and spring 2016 runway show at Pier 59 on Thursday night. Mary J. Blige showed her support in the front row and honorees included actress Tracee Ellis Ross (daughter of Diana Ross), designer Azede Jean-Pierre, stylists Rachel Johnson, Misa Hylton and Groovey Lew, TV host Bevy Smith, InStyle editor Kahlana Barfield and Macy’s.
“Thank you for a moment like this, where we can all be together celebrating each other,” Ross told the crowd while accepting the Icon 360 award, in recognition of her paving the way for diversity in film and fashion. “I’m so grateful to be here. I just want to see the clothes!”
After the awards, three designers — The Fashion Deli, M-Sew and Fe Noel — sent their spring collections down the runway. “My objective was to present an alternative narrative to African design,” explained Thulare Monareng of The Fashion Deli, a retail platform for African designers. “From what I see, there’s this one-dimensional idea of what African design is, which is very print- and wax print-based.”
London-based, Bermuda-born Meagan S.E. Wellman showed her M-Sew collection after winning Bermuda Fashion Festival’s local designer showcase last month. Her spring vision took inspiration from the island nation’s cricket team uniforms and vintage American sportswear. Meanwhile, New York designer Felisha Noel’s Fe Noel lineup touched on a nautical theme through rope accents and stripes.
Founded by Brandice Henderson in 2007, Harlem Fashion Row provides a platform for designers, stylists, creative directors and makeup artists of color working in the fashion industry.