News / Arts & Entertainment

    Pratt Exhibit Spotlights Elite Black Fashion Designers

    Black Designers Take Spotlighti
    X
    February 23, 2014 1:50 AM
    Only two Black fashion designers had runway shows during New York’s fashion week this month, but ten others were featured off-runway in a special exhibit at New York’s Pratt Institute Museum. VOA correspondent Bernard Shusman reports.
    VIDEO: Aiming to upend the fashion world status quo, “Black Dress" recently opened at New York’s Pratt Manhattan Gallery.
    Only two black fashion designers had runway shows during New York Fashion Week, but ten other African-American designers — both established and up-and-coming — are being featured in a special off-runway exhibit.

    Aiming to upend the fashion world status quo, “Black Dress," which recently opened at New York’s Pratt Manhattan Gallery, was conceived to coincide with Black History Month and New York Fashion Week.

    “As black designers we are here, we are a force to be reckoned with," said Pratt Institute fashion professor Adrienne Jones, who co-curated the show.

    “The talent is just as strong as an Oscar de la Renta or an Alexander McQueen, but due to a lack of funding, they’re not out there,” she said, explaining that black designers remain underrepresented in the industry despite growing influence, and that the time for real recognition has come.

    Starting with an international roster of 100 design portfolios, Jones and co-curator Paula Coleman reduced the slate of candidates to 50, then 25, and then, finally, the featured ten. With some big names among the exhibitors — Jeffrey Banks and LaQuan Smith already enjoy broad name recognition — "Black Dress" also features works of those just coming to the attention of runway aficionados and industry tastemakers.

    Exhibitor Tracy Reese, a board member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, runs two established lines, for example, while Omar Salam is a designer and entrepreneur who founded the Sukeina Fashion House. Works by former “Project Runway” contestants Samantha Black and Epperson are also on display, along with works by Harlem-based designer Donna Dove, environmentally-conscious designer Michael Jerome Francis, and celebrated fashion innovator Stephen Burrows.

    With unique and breathtaking pieces on display, each exhibit explores the designer's background and how the process of coming from one corner of the United States — or coming from one far-flung corner of the globe — has influenced their work.

    According to Jones, despite the diverse backgrounds, one common thread runs through all of the featured fashions: the history of black design in America, a cultural legacy documented since at least the works of Elizabeth Keckley, dressmaker and purported confidante to Mary Todd Lincoln.

    In a historically apropos twist, exhibitor Byron Lars already has already had pieces acquired for the White House wardrobe. First Lady Michelle Obama, it turns out, is a big Byron Lars fan.

    "I just never imagined that anything I would create would end up in the White House or on Air Force One heading for an event," said Lars, who was recently named “Rookie of the Year” by Women’s Wear Daily. "I just really love our first family so much and love the First Lady’s style so much, it really meant that much more to me."

    By participating in "Black Dress," he says, he hopes to counter the lack of attention paid his African American contemporaries.

    "That there is a glaring omission of black talent is irrefutable," he said, expressing frustration that more black designers aren't receiving Fashion Week exposure. "Honestly, it’s pretty disappointing that American Vogue has never gone there. It’s not for lack of talent, that’s for sure."

    The free exhibit, which runs through April 26 at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery, 144 West 14th Street, marks a new chapter in fashion history, characterized by a greater spectrum of creative influences and professional opportunities for contemporary black designers.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs