IN THE BLK powered by #CHANGEFASHION celebrated the work of three emerging Black designers during the inaugural IN THE BLK runway show at Spring Studios. House of Aama, Khiry, and Third Crown each presented their AW22 Collections to guests such as Chanel Iman, Richie Shazam, Raquel Willis, Rashad Robinson, and Mayor Eric Adams. The runway show was sponsored by Color of Change, a leading racial justice organization, and UPS, which has a longstanding commitment to supporting women-owned and diverse-owned businesses.
Additional notable guests included:
● Arisha Hatch, Managing Director of Campaigns
● Aurora James, Brother Vellies Designer
● Brandon Blackwood, Brandon Blackwood Designer
● Chris Chambers, President The Chambers Group
● Edvin Thompson, Theophilo Designer
● Kevin Warren, UPS CMO
● Marjon Carlos, Author
● Steven Kolb, CFDA Chief Executive Officer
● Victor Glemaud, Victor Glemaud Designer
● Young Emperors, Influencers
For the show, each designer debuted their latest collections which all shared a similar theme, a continuation and evolution of the designer’s previously shown pieces and featured IMG talents: Lameka Fox, Mahogany Wade, and AwengChuol
Husband and wife duo Kofi Kristen Essell of Third Crown opened the show with their Edelsteen collection. As the preface of Third Crown’s story, the pair sought to use gemstones in their initial design concepts, repurposing some of those ideas and expanding them into new shapes while incorporating classic silhouettes. As the opening to the In the BLK showcase, the name of the AW22 collection comes from the South African language, Afrikaans—Edelsteen is Afrikaans for “gemstone” which are known not only to have beautiful, natural colors but also have various healing properties.
Following Third Crown’s Edelsteen collection was mother and daughter duo Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka of House of Aama. Entitled Heritage Bloodroot Collection – Into the Archives, the latest offering is a new rendition of the nostalgia-inspired Heritage Bloodroot collection shown in 2017, which introduced the brand’s storytelling appeal and timeless silhouettes. Inspired by the rare bloodroot herb which has been used by old-time conjures and root workers as a powerful Guardian for the Family, the line is an ode to Southern Creole spiritually, African Roots, and is an archival find of the Rootworker, Southern lady, and Bluesman archetypes unearthed for a new audience.
Closing the show was KHIRY founder Jameel Mohammed’s latest, a continued storyline from last season’s debut pieces with Fights Reveal Futilities. A new demi-fine jewelry collection shown alongside custom-made garments reflect a clean, futuristic presence that is articulated with sharp embellishment reflecting the many spikes, thorns, daggers, and stingers found in nature. Of the 20 pieces of jewelry showing alongside the 16 runway looks, standout styles include the X Cuff named after Malcolm X, the Talon Pendant and the Orb Protection ring which balance the hand-sewn garments in melodic chaos, representing a battle; external and internal, lending material dimension to the tensions between our soft and aggressive impulses.
Immediately following the runway show, IMG hosted a curated panel entitled Black Representation Beyond the Runway. Moderated by stylist, Alexander-Julien, panelists included:
● Victor Glemaud, Designer & Founder of In The BLK
● MoAnA Luu, Chief Content & Creative Officer, Essence
● Aurora James, Founder of Brother Vellies and the 15 Percent Pledge
IN THE BLK runway show is part of IMG’s commitment to empowering and elevating Black fashion talent. IMG recently announced the creation of an Inclusion Rider for the fashion industry which will serve as an equity clause and ensure underrepresented talent are being provided opportunities within the fashion industry–in front of and behind the scenes.
“Action is important. We felt the timing and the ability to leverage the power of IMG was critical in taking steps to make real and measurable progress with the #ChangeFashion Inclusion Rider. It is imperative that we create opportunities to empower Black talent and to diversify the input of NYFW: The Shows and of the larger fashion industry,” said Leslie Russo, President of IMG Fashion Events.