March 1, 2023 - Los Angeles, CA
On Thursday, February 23, 2023, the NAACP hosted a fashion show luncheon, presenting the newest addition to the Image Awards, honoring hairstyling, make-up, and costume design. The Black Design Collective (BDC) followed the awards and wowed the audience with their most recent collections. NAACP president, Derrick Johnson, set the tone as he spoke about art and all its forms as a significant influence on the next generation. “There’s still protest in creativity, whether it is in the roles that we choose, the scripts that we write, or directions you give when you step out on the catwalk.” He continues, “So today, I want us to honor the accomplishments of the designers and nominees, because we recognize that it is very competitive in this environment. But I also want to challenge you to go further. We are here to celebrate Black essence, and let’s be proud of what we have accomplished in our journey in this country. Johnson concludes, “The fashion show was a new addition last year, because we want to make sure we embrace all of our creativity.” —Derrick Johnson, NAACP President
Karen Boykin-Towns followed up with these sentiments. “For the first time, we are recognizing the glam community with awards and their significant impact in the industry. It is an honor to celebrate all of you, because at one time, and even still often times, our features, our body shapes, our hair, and even our style are harshly criticized. Yet, those very same characteristics are inspired for whole trends. Don’t they know you can’t mimic style? We set the culture.” —Karen Boykin-Towns, Vice Chair, NAACP National Board of Directors
Last year, the NAACP reached out to Kevan Hall about showcasing Black Design Collective talent on their runway for the Image Awards, which proved to be a huge success. The show featured top talent from the rapidly growing community’s hand-picked assemblage of designers, and was appreciated by a distinguished audience of celebrities, fashionistas, and influencers. Designers came from New York, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles as they wowed the crowd. And BDC returned for this year’s NAACP Image Awards.
Fashion Designer and President/Co-Founder of Black Design Collective Kevan Hall: “We’re thrilled to partner with NAACP for its second year to shine the spotlight on our talented Black fashion designers. ‘Images: Fashion Moments in Time’ presents Black fashion throughout history—Harlem Renaissance, hip hop, Motown, and more. NAACP recognizes the importance of showcasing this illustrious group of designers and bringing them to the forefront of American fashion.”
“Black Design Collective was built on the premise that our actions do in fact speak much louder than our words. Of greater worth is both the amplification and consistency of the symbiotic voices between the Black Design Collective and the NAACP as we drive the changes that are essential to our cultural and economic empowerment. Thank you for a spectacular event, and as always, we look forward to what the future holds.” –Designer TJ Walker, Co-Founder of Black Design Collective
Each runway show had pre-taped highlights that shared inspirations of this year’s designers’ most recent collections that served as PSAs for the Black diaspora. Each collection carried with it the spirit of American Black culture and its varied experiences.
The Designers . . .
“During covid, I found a renewed sense of connection to nature. I’m opening the scope of my life in Los Angeles in a way that I hadn’t since arriving here. For Spring/Summer 2023, I wanted the feel of open space. I wanted to optimize florals, the sky, and the rainbow through these clothes. And I really feel like we did that. The great thing about Black style is that it’s understanding the empowerment that Black people experience through style, through affecting a different reality for themselves through their dressing that they may not be experiencing in society. It’s nice that the NAACP understands its importance and wants to reinforce that, even through this modern era. That’s exciting for all of us.”—Designer Charles Harbison (harbison.studio)
Kutula by Africana
“At Kutula, we design clothes for the international business person and the very savvy fashionista who want pieces that stand for and celebrate the tribal beauty of Africa and its authentic nature. Most of our fabrics come directly from artisans and from all over Africa. We take those fabrics that are primarily adire and mud cloths and fuse them with cottons and silks to make every garment beautiful. Collectively, we try to elevate the culture for our clients to express themselves wherever they may be going in the world that most describes this line. What we’re trying to evoke is the ‘woo too’—the very raw nature of just being pure. All the designs are authentically sourced, and are ‘lifetime’ pieces. For Black fashion, what we really see is a rise to excellence where each of us are able to express ourselves with our unique backgrounds and our perspectives. –Bo Anuluoha of Kutula by Africana (shopkutula.com)
House of Aama (A Mother/Daughter Design Team):
“Our mission is to explore the folkways of the Black experience by shining light on nuance histories and unpacking family narratives. The garments are a vehicle for the stories that we tell. Our Bloodroot Heritage collection is the storytelling narrative centered on my family’s maternal lineage coming out of Louisiana, so it’s a Creole story. In this collection (and in our brand in general), we focus on the post-fallen South where you’re going to continually see at our core, silhouettes [with] touches of that. We’re also showing SALT WATER—a collection that pays homage to the seafaring legacy and water deities that come out of West Africa, but also to the lost but not forgotten resort communities that live in the Americas, specifically Oak Bluff, Idyllwild, etc. We are an Americana brand, focusing on specific themes dealing with the West. We consider ourselves to be filling our white cities and Americana fashion with these unexplored stories coming from the Black experience that are part of the fabric of America, not just fashion, but also part of the fabric of the country.” –Designer Rebecca Henry, House of Aama (houseofaama.com)
Cross Colours (Carl Jones and TJ Walker):
“Fashion always started with our communities. If they’re not willing to wear it, to push it, to style it, to rock it, then it’s not fashion. We wanted to make the statement very clear. It’s clothing without prejudice, but this is where it starts. When we relaunched the brand six years ago, it was mostly sweatshirts and sweatpants going back to the roots. We added some newer military looks as well.” –Carl Jones, Cross Colours Co-Founder
“It became very clear to us that hip hop was the huge influence of the brand, because it is so influential in the culture. And it’s a lifestyle. Hip hop brings a lot of things to it that many people don’t even understand. It was also important that we made sure that it was represented by us. All the advertisement, all the promotion were people of color.” –TJ Walker, Cross Colours Co-Founder (crosscolours.com)
In Earnest (Byron Lars & Sheila Gray):
“In Earnest is not just our name, but it’s also our mantra.” States Sheila Gray. Byron Lars adds, “Our point of view is women’s advocacy through the product itself, because no matter the theme, we never forget about her. There’s a lot of texture, lots of strong shoulders, really feminine shapes when people had a joy in dressing and dressed up. It’s about texture and color, pattern mixing. Harlem’s like the ham hock that flavored the whole pot American style.” Gray adds, “and that’s where Black culture . . . how it all started. Lars concludes: “We work and walk around Harlem every day and feel that history, so that’s what this collection evokes. When you think about Black fashion, it is fashion seen through a Black lens. And so often, Black people have had to go without, and have had to get extra inventive. And I think that is really the crucible of what makes us so fabulous!” (inearnestofficial.com)
“Growing up in Texas, I have found that it’s difficult to find pockets of community that are inspiring. One thing [in particular] is toxic masculinity. So, to me, the fully expressed man just means having more choices and more options to express a full sense of self. For instance, the red carpet . . . for the longest time, I would really only see women embracing and enjoying different silhouettes that are in color as it relates to fashion. As I began my work, I really wanted men to be able to engage in fashion in a way that felt enriching and exciting. With this collection, “From Grandmother’s Couch,” which was about sitting on your grandmother’s couch, and from that perspective, what did you see? Maybe a beaded lamp or a printed curtain or a ratchet rug, then taking all of these collage-like elements and making them exist harmoniously. This collection did invoke Sunday dinners, another sense of Black tradition. There’s a lot of love involved. I think it’s important to continue to tell these stories. And it’s very important to continue to highlight the work of Black Americans and our contributions, not only to American creativity, but to America as a whole.” –Designer Kenneth Nicholson (kennethnicholson.us)
Kevan Hall closes the show:
“My point of view as a fashion designer is to create clothes that are classic, beautiful, and made with the finest fabrics. I create designs that evoke a wonderful feeling of exuberance and excitement for women to wear throughout her day and night that become a part of her lifestyle. Growing up in the 60s and 70s, I looked back to my beginnings in Detroit with Motown, Diana Ross and the Supremes and Martha Reeves and The Vandellas. I was inspired by the glamour of these icons dressed in sequins, feathers and dramatic silhouettes.” –Kevan Hall, Creative Director for Kevan Hall. (kevanhalldesigns.com)
The Inaugural Award-Winners:
Outstanding Costume Design (Television or Film) Ruth E. Carter – BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER (Marvel Studios); Outstanding Make-up (Television or Film) Debi Young, Sandra Linn, Ngozi Olandu Young, Gina Bateman –WE OWN THIS CITY (HBO Max); Outstanding Hairstyling (Television or Film) Camille Friend –BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER (Marvel Studios); and the Vanguard Award Recipient Bethann Hardison (naacpimageawards.net)
“The act of not being inclusive, no matter what your intentions, the results are the same. Starting Bethann Management is a joy that I have out in the fashion industry. Fashion is no longer just on a little tiny island that nobody knows about. Now it’s part of popular culture. Now it’s influencing young people. It’s beginning to show people what things should look like. It’s giving you the idea of what we see, how we act when it comes down to race. You never can take your foot off the gas!”—NAACP Vanguard Award Recipient Bethann Hardison (Model and activist)
In-kind Sponsor: Beauty brand Black Radiance celebrates 30 years of uplifting the inner beauty and the outer allure of women of color. (blackradiancebeauty.com)
About the Black Design Collective:
Founded in 2018, the Black Design Collective is comprised of accomplished fashion industry professionals-of-color who seek to amplify the influence of and create opportunities for the community of Black apparel and accessory designers and costume designers within the US and abroad. The BDC mission is rooted in the promotion of Scholarship, Mentorship, and Entrepreneurship within emerging generations of Black fashion design talent. Through this work, the BDC aims at ultimately fostering an independent and self-sustaining Black fashion community. (blackdesigncollective.com)
By Sean McKenzie, First Take PR
Release ID: 540471
Original Source of the original story >> Black Design Collective Designers Make an Impact with “Images: Fashion Moments in Time” at the 54th NAACP Image Awards.