Harlem’s Fashion Row’s Virtual Retreat
In an effort to sustain support for designers amidst the COVID-19 crisis, Harlem’s Fashion Row has launched a new non-profit initiative titled Icon 360. Harlem’s Fashion Row CEO and founder Brandice Daniel held a global virtual fundraising event purely for this non-profit response. HFR has been around for over 13 years now, giving platforms and opportunities to multicultural designers. Their mission is to create high-quality experiences through innovative fashion displays, celebrating the cultural reflections and personal experiences of multicultural designers in fashion. They support up and coming designers with various events and pop-up shops, and have developed a substantial resource of sponsors within the industry.
Now, with Icon 360, Harlem’s Fashion Row is aiding in a huge way. The initiative plans to host 75 Black and Indigenous designers at a virtual retreat. Two major companies who will be supporting this event are Nike, Vogue, Gap, Macy’s, and Janie and Jack. Nike has had a history of continued support for HFR, and seeks to further it at the retreat, offering business strategies and donations. Vogue’s “A Common Thread” initiative aided $1 million to the grant competition for this designer retreat, in efforts to help designers to launch their businesses substantially. In continued industry support, fashion moguls such as Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Tracy Reese, Teri Agins, Wouri Vice and Chioma Nandi.
My personal expectation is the elevation of these designers through not only sponsorship but commercial advertisements. Coverage of the events have indicated that job placement is not specifically a reward of the initiative. While this is a bit disheartening considering major companies are backing this event, it could potentially be just as powerful for those companies to launch campaigns supporting the designers who take part or win the final grant. Elevating multicultural designers through large-scale advertising can help their businesses reach new markets, especially with the diverse kinds of brands backing this initiative.