Harlem Fashion Row, founded by CEO Brandice Daniels, celebrated it’s 10th year showcasing and highlighting designers of color in the fashion industry. The dynamic and trendsetting show was held at La Marina in Upper Manhattan and featured four designers (that all need to be on your radar): FeNoel, Undra Celeste, K. RaShaé, and Kimberly Goldson.
Backstage had a lively, yet calm, hustle and bustle, a rarity at fashion week. The organization of the backstage was superb and everyone working effectively. Jumping from metallic face paint and gold nails at Kimberly Goldson, I was equally loving the Studio 54 vibes I was getting from FeNoel. Undra Celeste gave us a bold, gold eyelid while K. RaShaé opted for dewy, teenage esq skin with a dark lip.
I had an opportunity to interview each of the designers and one thing that was prevalent was their appreciation and adoration for the platform that Harlem Fashion Row has provided for them. Kimberly Goldson, who has been showing at Harlem Fashion Row for 5 years stated, “I love Brandice Daniels for just thinking so much of us. We need this platform, we are underepresented in the retail space. I love her for just championing for us. Trying to get people to support us, she’s (Brandice) is one of our biggest supporters.”
Though rainy, nothing could dampen the spirit and mood of the event. It kicked off with Brandice Daniels discussing Harlem Fashion Row and how the road to making it to 10 years, has been anything but easy, yet everything rewarding. She encouraged the crowd, stating, “To anyone in the room thinking of giving up, there is gold in the perserverance.” She then proceeded to honor, introduce, and uplift each recipient, giving out hand sculpted awards, created by Jordan Baker Caldwell.
Claire Sulmers, founder of Fashion Bomb Daily was the recipient of the New Media award. The Brooklyn based grad got emotional on stage, sharing her love and passion for fashion, but most importantly, what drove her to starting her site. She reminisced, “I‘ve always loved and been fascinated by fashion, but I’ve always felt like an outsider.” The Harvard grad, boasting over 1M followers on Instagram for her site smiled and credited the Internet for driving her success, “Thanks to the digital landscape and social media, I’ve moved from an outsider to an insider.” In addition to running her site and being a fashion trendsetter, she is now a correspondent with Revolt TV.
Chioma Nnudi, the Fashion News Director at Vogue received the Editor of the Year Award, joining the ranks of Elaine Welteroth, Editor of Teen Vogue, who received the award last year. Chioma got on stage, slightly shy, admitting, “I’m more of a writer than a talker,” to a return of jovial laughs from the crowd. While Vogue represents all thinks aspirational, Chioma Nnudi got on the stage and dropped a grounded, key: “It always comes down to being resourceful, being inspired, not always having the most of everything can spark creativity.” Recording artist Andra Day received the Decennium Trailblazer Award and while she was unable to attend, a video played with her thanking Harlem Fashion Row for the award and the importance of supporting Black designers.
Spike Lee received the Decennium ICON 360 of the year award and was introduced by Julee Wilson, Fashion Director at Essence Magazine. While some might find it odd for the Knicks loving filmmaker to receive a fashion award, Julee explained, “His personal style to the style and the culture he brought to the world with his films is unprecedented.”
After the awards, the runway portion of the evening began with each designer having a short video to introduce themselves and more about their collection and inspiration. The fashion show began with FeNoel opening the show with her Studio 54 feel and flowed into Undra Celeste NY’s vintage vibes giving a nod to the 70’s. The show continued with K. RaShaé who admitted exclusively to Hello Beautiful to being inspired by Janelle Monae and her classic black and white vibes. Kimberly Goldson closed the show with golden glam and ostentacious perfection, that this Brooklyn girl was inspired by during a recent trip to the Middle East.
Noteables in attendance included Sidra Smith, Michaela Angela Davis, Emil Wilbeken, Audrey Smaltz, Misa Hylton, Mikki Taylor and more.