Harlem’s Fashion Row’s digital NYFW event proved that it’s more than an organisation, it’s a revolution
Last night, the first of New York Fashion Week, Harlem’s Fashion Row celebrated its 13th annual Style Awards and fashion show event, but gone were the flashing cameras, the red carpet, and the glamorous venue. This year’s program, like the vast majority of shows and events this season, was produced entirely online. The pre-recorded video was emceed by former Ebony Fashion Fair commentator Audrey Smaltz along with HFR’s founder Brandice Daniel. The evening’s celebrations, Daniel noted in the video, were centered around the theme “Black Is the New Black,” and represented the fact that Black creativity across the board, but especially in fashion, has always been here, even if it’s been brushed aside or ignored by the industry in the past. She and others who spoke via Zoom and iPhone cameras referred to the annual event as “a Black family reunion,” and the community aspect was palpable, even viewed through a laptop screen.
Celebrity stylist Jason Rembert made an appearance, as did the “lifestyle architect” Misa Hylton and designer Dapper Dan. At one point, Hylton honored Daniels and her work of more than a decade with HFR, saying that it’s “special to have a Black woman leading this movement.” Indeed, as Daniels pointed out, the organisation is “more than an organisation, it’s a movement.” She took time to acknowledge all that HFR has accomplished over the years and specifically during the last six months. In addition to forming major brand partnerships with childrenswear line Janie and Jack, Nike, and Gap, HFR also received a $1 million grant from A Common Thread, which Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour acknowledged on camera during the virtual event, saying that she was grateful to Brandice and the HFR organization and looks forward to continuing the partnership together.