Riding their success from the September 2020 collections presented at New York Fashion Week, the Black in Fashion Council and IMG Models have expanded their operations, giving a shortlist of 16 designers the space to debut their work this season. House of Aama, Edas, Marrisa Wilson, Third Crown, Beads Byaree, Chelsea Paris, Chuks Collins, Kendra DuPlantier, Lola Ade, Whensmokeclears, Michel Men, Nicole Benfield, Nicole Shante, Come Back as a Flower, Label by Three, and Local European will present their latest in what, BIFC’s co-founder, Lindsay Peoples-Wagner calls a “discovery showroom.”
“I really want it to feel like people are actually actively discovering new names and new people,” Peoples-Wagner continues. “There are so many talented, young Black designers that [people in fashion] may not even know about. And so, we really take this responsibility seriously. We want to make sure to give them this platform.”
Last season, in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests, the BIFC showroom profiled fledgling designers Kenneth Nicholson, Theophilio, A Potts, and Undra Celeste in a subversive bid to shore up the black fashion community that had for so long gone without acclaim in their industry.
“I am really excited that we are expanding this partnership because it still feels like such a weird time to be creative, especially for a young designer,” says Peoples-Wagner. “Something that I’m personally passionate about is making sure that the next generation of designers has the support and resources that they need, specifically people of color creators in the industry really getting that access to resources.”
As with most fashion presentations, BIFC’s 16 profiles will operate in the “phygital” tense, showing in-person and online, with forward-facing virtual activations and by private appointment for press and retailers in New York and Los Angeles. Running alongside NYFW’s Fall/Winter 2021 season, the Council will present from Sunday, February 14 to Friday, February 17.
In the lead-up to seeing BIFC’s latest raft of creatives, Peoples-Wagner assures: “It is people that really have a great portfolio, a great perspective, and who are really bringing something to the table that feels like it’s breaking through the noise.” All told, after a year that surely exposed fashion’s underbelly, it proved a salutatory lesson for an industry less guarded, less hamstrung by tradition, and now more inclusive.END
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