On a rainy but fashionable night in Upper Manhattan, Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR) kicked off New York Fashion Week (NYFW) by hosting its 15th Annual Awards and Runway Show. Held on Tuesday, September 6, this year’s event showcased fashion’s future by featuring emerging designers, honoring icons and visionaries, and engaging tastemakers and influencers from across the country. LVMH was the event’s title sponsor.
“African Americans have a rich history in fashion, although much of their contributions have been buried or unrecognized in history,” founder Brandice Daniel said in a press release about HFR and its highly anticipated event. “We are moving into the future by reaching back to understand, honor, and pull strength from our past.”
The star-studded event began with a Moet Chandon cocktail hour and notable red carpet appearances and ended with a haute runway show. Celebrities such as Bevy Smith, Raheem Devaughn, Dapper Dan, Erica Campbell, Jerrie Johnson, and Ty Hunter were spotted alongside some of the industry’s favorite style influencers and designers such as Monroe Steele, Tenika B., Denise Osei, Kela Walker, Tiffany Battle, Kimberly Goldson, and Aurora James. Designers Jonathan Hayden, Clarence Ruth, and Nicole Benefield presented their latest collections at the close of the evening.
The night was filled with surprise appearances, awards, and of course, breathtaking looks. For the first time, HFR, in partnership with LVMH, presented the new Virgil Abloh award for ingenuity to Issa Rae. Virgil’s wife, Shannon, presented the award.
“I didn’t get to know Virgil like that, but as the first recipient of this award, I think he would be OK with me coming to every future award show to stunt on everyone else who gets this award after me,” Rae joked to the crowd.
“But in all sincerity, this is such a validating encouragement. It means that you guys see me and that you see all that I am trying to do,” Rae continued. “That means that more of us will try and succeed and exceed … I may be the first to receive this award, but as long as I am working, I vow to make sure I am not the last.”
Other awardees included Sergio Hudson, Designer of the Year; Ade Samuels, Stylist of the Year; and Robin Givhan, Editor of the Year. Wearing the Off White “Party Girl” look, Janet Jackson accepted the award as Icon of the Year at the HFR afterparty later that night.
We applaud all of Tuesday night’s awardees and designers and congratulate Harlem’s Fashion Row on 15 years of high fashion excellence for the culture. See the gallery of our favorite looks below proving that the rain does not stop the show – or the slay.