For years Newark, New Jersey has always been a cultural epicenter to Arts Education, Jazz and unbeknownst to the world even Fashion. Newark has produced the likes of Sarah Vaughan, Rodney Gilbert, James Moody, Whitney Houston, Jerry Gant, Stephen Burrows and Dana “Queen Latifah” Ownens just to name a few. With #NFF Mayor Ras J. Baraka is making sure that the world now knows Newark was first when it came to fashion saying, “We took our Fashion to New York but we’re taking it back”. Under the leadership of the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation, where Aisha Glover is the President & CEO; Newark launched it’s First iteration of Fashion Week: Newark Fashion Forward. Although it was their Inaugural Fashion Week attempt, they didn’t attempt, they succeeded in showing just a taste of what Newark has to offer when it comes to the art fashion, showing New York they are in a run for their money!
The rain didn’t stop this three day weekend of Newark excellence beginning with day One: Fashion on the Green: Botanica featuring designers: Everything Rrouge (Melody Asherman) | Milele Atelier | ShaVi Lewis | Marco Hall. Newark’s Military Park was transformed into a fashion wonderland serving fashion and also including awards given to Essence Magazine Alumna and Newark Natives Mikki Taylor and Tai Beachamp. The designers nor the honorees did not disappoint in their efforts to show Newark’s finest in Fashion!
Day Two was devoted to Fashion and art again at Military Park, where Emerging fashion designers from within the city limits and beyond collaborated with visual artists and interior designers to create an immersive fashion experience. Finally on Day Three #NFF presented a screening of “The Gospel According to Andre'”. A documentary chronicling the extraordinary life of Andre’ Leon Talley one of the foremost leading African American males in the fashion industry for over three decades. The panel following the screening was moderated by Mikki Taylor with guest panelists that included: Tai Beauchamp, Solange Franklin, Wouri Vice. Their were so many nuggets of wisdom from this panel of worthy individuals. Answering questions from The State of “Us (African American’s)” in the fashion community to Are Black Folks the Change or the Trend? Some statements included; “We can’t continue to be grateful for the opportunity we have to own it, and take advantage of the opportunity” from Tai. Wori Vice added “Complete the task and see it through, you need to be equally as strong as a Givanchi, Ralph Lauren, etc. This weekend was eye opening as well as powerful. As a first attempt Newark Fashion Forward completed a phenomenal showing and gave all that attended a taste of what Newark has to offer in Fashion. Only one Caveat, while one of the designers was a plus size woman there was no plus size fashion shown hopefully next year all sizes can be a part of the monumentous occasion.
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