This September, Harlem’s Fashion Row will be celebrating its 15th anniversary, with a runway show on 6 September that will feature the designers who took part in the Louis Vuitton mentorship program. (And with LVMH as the show’s sponsor, we can expect an extravagant staging that goes beyond last September’s takeover of a major Harlem block.) Jonathan Hayden, a Japanese influenced womenswear designer who will be showing with Harlem’s Fashion Row for the first time, feels this partnership is essential to the development of future design talent. “Being multicultural, I had to always forge my own path,” he explained, “that’s why an organisation like HFR is so helpful in making sure that talent that should be noticed is noticed.” Clarence Ruth, a streetwear designer who took part in the mentorship program and will be showing in September feels similarly. “When you talk about LVMH, you are talking about the biggest fashion group in the industry. Their resources and capabilities in helping Black and brown talent – which is also the main goal of Harlem’s Fashion Row – are limitless.”

From left to right: Clarence Ruth, Anish Melwani, CD Greene, Gena Smith, Brandice Daniel, Jonathan Hayden, and Corey Smith.  Photo: Lebo Lukewarm/ Courtesy of Harlem’s Fashion Row

Limitless is also how Daniel sees the future of HFR, with plans to expand beyond the Manhattan neighbourhood. “We’ll be really thoughtful about how we expand, but I will tell you it’s in our 10-year plan.”



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