• Show Review: Harlem’s Fashion Row

    This past Friday, I took a quick detour from the tents to attend Harlem’s Fashion Row, a show dedicated to showcasing the talent of black designers. With a front row peppered with industry insiders and celebrities like Fern Mallis, Vanessa Williams, and Tasha Smith, it was certainly a hot ticket, and I couldn’t wait to see what the show had in store.
    Brandice Henderson, founder of the HFR movement, plucked five designers to show their wares in the packed auditorium at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

    Take a look:

    Latisha Daring was up first with a collection titled Transformation. Nina Simone’s song “New Day” wafted through the hall as models flaunted a selection of nature inspired prints and colors. Lemon yellow played on A line dresses and jumpsuits with zippered fronts while African print pieces were paired with balloon sleeved jackets, slim cigarette pants, and high waisted shorts.

    Daring played with cutouts on jersey jumpsuits and along the back of slick vest sets.

    From simple peplum tops with matching pencil skirts to more adventurous A line dresses with sheer panels, Daring created items for real women with bold style.

    Next up was Nzinga Knight, who said her draped, floor length gowns were an ode to womanhood, grace, beauty, and balance.

    While one would expect a resolutely feminine collection to feature pieces clinging to the female form, Knight instead offered copious fabric, long hems, draping, and regal silhouettes.

    Joseph and Jonathan Bethune showed a series of menswear pieces, made with military tailoring and what they called a ‘working aesthetic.

    Trench coats and denim jackets were revised and remixed, updated with distressed details, piped pockets, and contrast sleeves.

    Cardigans and polos were cast in two tones, some uplifted by gold buttons.

    Nicole Murphy opened Omar Salem’s segment with a walk so fierce, the whole room erupted in applause.

    Her simple look–a black jumpsuit worn under an oversized cardigan with gold buttons–somewhat exemplified Salem’s aesthetic of chic with a twist. Working primarily with black and white, his clothes exuded easy elegance, while ruffles, sheer lace details, windowpane fabric, and pleating adding lovely twists.

    Sleek Christian Louboutin pumps provided exclamation points to each sophisticated look. Salem’s draping, attention to detail, and revisions upon classic silhouettes had attendees clapping at every turn.

    Kevan Hall closed the night with his signature red carpet ready gowns.

    In addition to delectable dresses cast in pink, lilac, and luscious lime, Hall also offered a few pant looks, buttressed by frilled tops and peplum blouses.

    It was a great show!

    Designers. From left: Omar Salem, Joseph and Jonathan Bethune, Nzinga Knight, Latisha Daring

    Kevan Hall with Models

    HFR is a veritable force, and I was delighted by all the new designers I discovered that night. I can’t wait to see what they do next!
    To learn more about it, visit HarlemsFashionRow.com.
    What do you think?
    Photos by Marta McAdams
    See all the runway looks here:


    Claire Sulmers is the publisher and founder of Fashion Bomb Daily, the #43 most influential style magazine in the world.

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