Photo by Matt Weinberger
Aug 29, 2022
Black Fashion Fair stopped by Brooklyn Museum to uplift Black designers (and party)
Black Fashion Fair’s "Museum World Tour" was all about bringing more access and opportunity to underrepresented designers
What started off as a night of mingling and gallery walkthroughs at Brooklyn Museum, quickly turned into hundreds of well-dressed people Hustle dancing and absolutely losing it to Beyoncé’s “Renaissance.”
Curated by Black Fashion Fair and hosted by FUBU, Taofeek Abijako of Head of State, and Tier NYC, “Museum World Tour” brought together fashionistas, designers, artists and more for a night of celebrating Black talent across the board on Saturday night.
In the museum’s foyer entry, giant Kaws statues and murals towered over the crowd as DJs Young Wavy Fox, Quiana Parks, and Moresoupplease kept everyone moving in their designer clothes. The bottomless rum punches didn’t hurt.
“The goal with ‘Museum World Tour’ is to make sure Black artists are being seen by their communities,” says Black Fashion Fair founder Antoine Grégory. “Our retail platform continues to be a key market for Black designers to grow their brands awareness and visibility.”
Guests who bought the $40 tickets ($35 for Brooklyn Museum members) also got to take in the ongoing exhibit “Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech,” dedicated to the late designer, artist and DJ’s artwork, his contribution to fashion and culture, and his work as Louis Vuitton’s first Black creative director.
“Virgil was a supporter of Black Fashion Fair and I wanted to be able to get as many people to see the exhibition as possible,” says Grégory. “Since our inaugural fashion fair in 2020, we have been able to place Black designers into top retailers, and get them the access and resources they need to help sustain their businesses.”
Patrons were also able to shop the exhibition’s apparel and accessories collection. An additional pop-up shop curated by Black Fashion Fair also gave attendees the opportunity to shop Black Fashion Fair’s members such as Homage Year, Brandon Blackwood, FUBU, Botter, Sebastien Ami, Marco Ribeiro, Supervsn, and Theophilio (who was worn by Keke Palmer on the July cover of British Vogue), among others.
Black Fashion Fair, which officially launched in 2020, was just a spark in Grégory’s eye when a Twitter thread of his went viral for highlighting specific Black designers in 2016. Now he’s added “publisher” to his resume: In February Black Fashion Fair released its first 200-page magazine, Volume 0, which was printed with three different covers: Maria Borges shot by AB + DM Photography, Joan Smalls photographed by Quil Lemons, Aleya Ali shot by AB + DM, and a digital cover of Sabrina Nugent shot by Amber Pinkerton. In its pages, readers can browse collections of Black designers such as Pyer Moss, Sergio Hudson, House of Aama, Theophilio, and more. The magazine is filled with Black writers, scholars, and activists.
“With Museum World Tour, not only are we highlighting Black artists’ exhibitions on view but we’re giving people an opportunity to see them with community, friends, and family,” says Grégory.
For example, Homage Year founder and Black Fashion Fair member Antoine Manning began designing in 2014 when he was a teenager in the Bronx. Today, the accessories-based brand is widely known for the Ova Bags — which comes in various colors in sizes.
“[Grégory] uses his platform to continue to push the mission that he’s had for Black designers and Black creatives to have a space and platforms in which they can find a home — and he remains true to that,” Manning says.
And Manning is paying it forward, Homage Year’s new Passionfruit collection, may be visually striking for matching various bags to fruit colors. But there’s much more to the Benign Banana and the Poise Peach Ova Mini Mini Manifestation Bags than meet the eye.
“This collection is to challenge and to be mindful of the things you’re putting your time into; the fruits of your labor, the passion that you’re putting your time into,” says Manning. “At the end of day, the seeds that we plant are the fruits that we eat tomorrow.”
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The bags launched on August 18 at t.a. New York and sold out quickly. They were then re-released on Black Fashion Fair over this past weekend and sold out again. Manning says he’s working on four more bags in the Passionfruit collection.
“Black people in many different ways have always been excluded from institutions like museums,” says Grégory. “Even today, you don’t always feel comfortable in these spaces or reached out to … The goal is to reach people who may have otherwise not been able to enjoy an experience like this.”
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