Afropunk has emerged as a driving cultural force in the Black community, working to break down barriers to self-reliance and artistic expression.
On Wednesday, July 13th, at the Shopify shop in SoHo, New York, the globally integrated media platform and music festival platform achieved just that with their first-ever Black Fashion Accelerator Fashion Show.
The Black Fashion Accelerator Program was developed by Afropunk and Shopify with the intention of providing a platform for nine exceptionally creative Black fashion designers and boosting their businesses for six months. The first part of the fashion exhibit was a showcase of each designer's labor and imagination.
The nine entrepreneurs and mentees whose work was featured at Afropunk were Bronté Laurent (Par Bronte Laurent), Archie Clay III and Tajh Crutch (Wear Brims), Corin Lindsay (Corin DeMarco), Sophia Danner-Okotie (Besida), Melissa A. Mitchell (Abeille Creations), Paakow Essandoh (MIZIZI), Sylvester Ndhlovu (RuvaAfricWear), Valerie Blaise (Vavvoune) and Jelisa Smith (House of Fleek).
Christopher Bevans, the Yeezy and MacArthur Foundation collaborator and DYNE's creative director, led the program and provided the nine students in the class with invaluable guidance and tools. The program also featured the guidance of three industry experts who served as guest mentors. The course's ultimate objective was to help them build a more successful and long-lasting brand.
The lower level of the two-story mall was the setting for the fashion show. Guests upstairs snacked on charcuterie boards and sushi platters. Wine and chilled beer were served on the hour, and guests were treated to a performance by up-and-coming R&B artist Laya in between galleries.
Goods from sponsors including Mielle Natural Hair Care, Pear Nova Vegan Nail Polish, Boxed Water, and Thread Beauty, a makeup company run by people of African descent, were also distributed to attendees. Some people flashed it up in front of the step-and-repeat while they milled about the building chatting with others, while others viewed the continuous exhibition from the shady balcony and adjoining staircases.