Runway Revolution: Black Excellence Takes Center Stage at NYFW

Runway Revolution: Black Excellence Takes Center Stage at NYFW

February commemorates Black History Month, a time to celebrate and honor the accomplishments of black individuals across various realms of life. In New York City this past week, fashion was celebrated. Throughout history, African Americans have left an indelible mark on the world of fashion. Notably, Ann Lowe designed the iconic ivory silk taffeta bridal gown worn by Jacqueline Bouvier during her wedding to John F. Kennedy in 1953. The esteemed Willi Smith is recognized as one of the most influential designers, credited with pioneering streetwear. Additionally, Steven Burrows made history as the first African-American designer to achieve international sales and establish a presence in mainstream fashion. Let's also acknowledge Dapper Dan, a self-taught tailor renowned for his unique style, who reshaped the intersection of high fashion and hip-hop and collaborated with Gucci in 2017.

When Fashion Danced Exibit by Stephen Burrows
When Fashion Danced Exibit by Stephen BurrowsPhoto by: thatgirlorange

This past week, the baton was handed to a new wave of black designers, exemplified by individuals such as LaQuan Smith, Diotima, Frederick Anderson, House of Aama, Sergio Hudson, and the winner of Project Runway Season 20, Bishme Cromartie. Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland we feel in love with Bishme, his radiant smile, his talent and his personal story, and vulnerability. Before making his appearance on the show, his sister Chimere, his greatest ally and support, had tragically passed away from cancer. When he emerged victorious, he expressed that his triumph was dedicated to her memory.

Throughout the season, Cromartie showcased his unique take on avant-garde streetwear. As outlined on his website, his mission as a Black designer is to "encourage self-expression, champion representation, and challenge preconceived notions for people of color." 

Bishme Cromartie
Bishme CromartiePhoto by Stacy Grey

A successful runway show is a seamless collaboration between the designer and their glam squad. For Bishme's show, he turned to celebrity hair stylist Stacy Gray. She shared her vision of what the designer wanted: “Bishme wanted futuristic 1960's inspired looks. We did this by doing a combination of French rolls and textured afros”.

Stacy Gray, Model, Bisme Cromartie
Stacy Gray, Model, Bisme Cromartie Photo By: Stacy Gray
Bisme Cromartie Designs NYFW 2024
Bisme Cromartie Designs NYFW 2024Photo By: Stacy Gray

Stacy has been in the industry for over 25 years and has worked with artists such as Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Sza, Sting, Nas, Jill Scott, and others. She has also worked on countless commercials and television shows. While she has recently begun working on Fashion Week shows as a key hairstylist, she expressed to Resident: "I aspire to become a significant influence in the realm of hairstyling at Fashion Week in the coming years. My goal is to collaborate with brands like Aveda on their textured team, ensuring better treatment of textured hair and encouraging greater representation of people of color in this space."

Stacy Gray
Stacy Gray
The Revolution continues! 

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