March 25th, 2011
Blacks in Fashion, Diversity, Fashion News
New York Event: Harlem’s Fashion Row Conversations with Designer Stephen Burrows
By Claire

Harlem’s Fashion Row ( is an organization dedicated to changing the face of fashion by shining a spotlight on designers of color oft overlooked in the industry. HFR holds annual fashion presentations (we covered last season’s event here), and has now inaugurated a ‘conversations’ series where founder Brandice Henderson interviews industry veterans in front of an audience. Designers, journalists, and stylists come, speak, and offer advice to young hopefuls.

Last night’s conversation was with iconic designer Stephen Burrows:

Burrows is easily one of the most celebrated fashion designers of color. He was the first African-American designer to be recognized on a global stage thanks to his participation in the historic Grand Divertissement à Versailles. He has dressed Naomi Campbell, Iman, and Cher; won several Coty and CFDA awards; he is a legend. We’ve written about him several times, most notably in our 2007 interview with him here.

Stephen offered lots of insight and words of wisdom. Yes, he told young hopefuls to focus on their dreams and to not give up, but to also get the proper education and bone up on the business of fashion. I asked him how he felt more designers of color could be represented in the industry, and he said, “Funding. It comes down to having the resources to let your brand succeed.” Vogue established the CFDA/Fashion Fund to help younger designers find their footing; France has the ANDAM award (Association National pour la Développement des Arts de la Mode) award. What do we have in place to help young African-American designers thrive?

It’s a problem that can’t be solved in one session, so I look forward to the next one.

For more information, stay tuned to Harlem’s Fashion Row’s website at

And also, be sure to check out Stephen at and ‘like’ him on Facebook at


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3 Responses to “New York Event: Harlem’s Fashion Row Conversations with Designer Stephen Burrows”

  1. Gemini says:

    This is soooooooooooooo TRUE African-Americans have no place to shine and celebrate young talents. CFDA/ANDAM acknowledge whites more than anything. It is time for African-Americans to create a mark for themselves instead of waiting on a hand out.

    I really enjoy reading Stephen Burrows words of encouragement but i must say he has so much to say you would think a person who has so much connections in the industry would offer more funding to African-Americans by creating a organization or something?? Instead of offering advice in a interview. #Just Saying

  2. michele says:

    Cushnie & Ochs a womens designer label
    that regularly shows at nyfw one the Ecco Domani Award for womens wear last year, the prize is pretty prestigious for new designers and Carly Cushnie is black there is also a label called Public School that was accepted into NY’S fashion incubator program that provides office/showroom space to nyc designers at a lower price. It’s true black designers don’t get the same recognition that white designers do, I’m just saying you shouldn’t allow it to discourage you from going after the same opportunities regardless. You could be the one to help initiate the change. Black fashion really needs an Anna Wintour type, in power not personality, that could rally business/people celebs together to get a fund going. Perhaps a Constance White et al

  3. Francesca says:

    I completely agree with gemini. Stephen Burrows should do better by his people with all his connections rather than giving advice that will still not get acknowledged unless someone in the industry already will step up to the plate to make that change really happen!

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