Fresh Faces and Spaces: Fashion Week Brooklyn Promotes Young Designers and Equality in the Fashion Industry

Fashion Week Brooklyn is in full swing this week with a new and exciting energy! Founded by the BK Style Foundation (BK|SF), Fashion Week Brooklyn has become one of the leading fashion events to showcase both the work of aspiring fashion designers and supporting fashion-oriented charitable organizations. “It's fresh, it supports emerging designers from all social, economic, race/ethnic backgrounds, etc., and talks about the good AND bad of the fashion industry,” Chanell Hasty, Founder of FRJ, said of her overall impression of the week’s events.

Some of the events this week have been light and fun, like the “Meet the Designers” showcase FRJ attended on the evening of October 5th which featured up-and-coming designers like Elias Gurrola and Lissa Koo, a relaxed atmosphere, and a hype(-eractive) DJ setting the mood! Others, like the panel presented by BK|SF, "Diversity in Fashion--From Concept to Runway", took on a more academic perspective. During the panel discussion, there was an emphasis on the role of image, brand responsibility, youth, and how it all blends together in the industry. Kim Jenkins, Professor of Fashion History & Theory at the Pratt Institute & Editor-in-Chief of the Fashion Studies Journal, tackled image when she stated "the image is powerful". Connie Wang, Fashion Features Director at Refinery 29 honed in on brand responsibility when she said that brands have taken strides to influence greater diversity within the fashion industry.  These strides help to show images of beauty that are representative of more than one section of the population. The panel also discussed how important it is to encourage young people to become interested and involved in the industry, stating: “Young people need creative outlets to be successful.” The ultimate highlight of the panel discussion was an amazing comment made by a fiery audience member.  This woman passionately stated that we cannot talk about the importance of diversity in the fashion industry without talking about Africa and the Caribbean, where the bourgeoning fashion industries in the two markets are creating ample investment opportunities that will only promote the economic development of the regions - especially for the younger populations.  How amazing that FRJ, through its unique programming and vocational training, will bring a creative outlet that will set orphans and vulnerable children on the road to success in the Gambia, perfectly situated as an emerging bourgeoning fashion market! “Fashion is a business ... there is a science to it,” said panel participant Randy Bowdoin Jr., an up and coming model; summing up the future of the fashion industry and the enormous positive impacts it can have in developing regions across the globe.

So, how can you support the fashionable push for diversity, youth engagement, and economic development? Make a donation to FRJ, BK|SF, and the other charitable organizations affiliated with Fashion Week Brooklyn!

Follow these links for more information about how you can get involved:

·         Fashion Redefining Justice

·         BK|SF

·         Soles4Souls Foundation

·         Art in Motion Show

·         Denim Day NYC

·         Colel Chabad


By: Margaret Strauss, FRJ Apprentice