Afropunk has taken the initiative to become one of the leading forces in Black culture dedicated to eliminating obstacles to entrepreneurialism and creative expression in marginalized communities. The globally integrated media platform and music festival platform did just that on Wednesday (July 13) at the Shopify store located in SoHo of New York with their inaugural Black Fashion Accelerator Fashion Show.
With the goal of highlighting and elevating aspiring Black fashion designers while growing their businesses, Afropunk partnered with Shopify and founded the Black Fashion Accelerator Program: an intensive six-month program that helped to prepare nine exceptional creative designers for longevity in the fashion industry. Each designer’s hard work and creativity was put on display for all to see during the first installment fashion exhibit.
Afropunk showcased the designs of the following nine mentees and founders: Bronté Laurent (Par Bronte Laurent), Archie Clay III and Tajh Crutch (Wear Brims), Corin Lindsay (Corin DeMarco), Sophia Danner-Okotie (Besida), Melissa A. Mitchell (Abeille Creations), Paakow Essandoh (MIZIZI), Sylvester Ndhlovu (RuvaAfricWear), Valerie Blaise (Vavvoune) and Jelisa Smith (House of Fleek).
Spearheaded by program mentor and DYNE creative director Christopher Bevans—who has worked with Yeezy and the MacArthur Foundation—the class of nine was given valuable resources from the fashion guru as well as other industry-specific resources including the assistance of three guest mentors. The end goal of the course was to strengthen their brand’s success and sustainability.
The fashion show took place on the bottom half of the two-story shopping space. Upstairs attendees enjoyed lite snacks from charcuterie boards and sushi platters. Guests also treated themselves to wine and cold brew every hour-on the hour, with a special performance from R&B rising star Laya in between exhibits.
Sponsors also provided goodies to guests such as the natural hair-care line Mielle, the vegan nail polish brand Pear Nova, Boxed Water and Black-owned makeup brand Thread Beauty. As attendees moved around the building mingling with others, some flicked it up in front of the step-and-repeat, as others watched the ongoing exhibition from the overshadowing balcony and adjacent staircases.
Check out more photos of the event below.