On Friday, September 16th, Harlem Fashion Row (HRF) ended New York Fashion Week by giving four aspiring minority designers the opportunity to present their Spring/Summer 2012 clothing lines at Jazz At Lincoln Center during a presentation amply titled, “Beautifully Out of Place.” The designers were selected during a highly publicized competition, in which the public got to vote for their favorite fashion designers. After thousands of votes, the four finalists selected were Bethune Bros. menswear designer Joseph Bethune; Jakia Handy of Ingram Talley; Onyenauchea Nwabuzor of Ana Kata; and Kellia Rogers of Kebero.
Some of the designers have their samples produced in clothing factories in midtown Manhattan, while others, create their designs in their small apartments. In addition to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase their lines during fashion week, the designers will receive mentoring from top professionals in the industry, and have their collections marketed and produced.
Established in 2007 by founder/CEO, Brandice Henderson, the work of HRF is unprecedented, as it gives designers of color the opportunity to be introduced to buyers and editors at the event, offering a platform that was unattainable without the help of the organization.
The organization also works to highlight the success of people of color in the industry, and honored Tyson Beckford, June Ambrose and Donna Williams, all who gave inspiring speeches about their journey during a cocktail reception held before the fashion presentation.
The 2011 HFR presentation was funded in part by Target. Speciality “Target-Tini” cocktails were provided by Par 7 Premium Vodka.