AFROPUNK & Shopify Shine a Light on Black Entrepreneurs at the Black Fashion Accelerator Fashion Show.
August 12, 2022
AFROPUNK & the Shopify Build Black team have displayed indefatigable spirit while working to create and execute the Black Fashion Accelerator program, which hosted a 6-month intensive curriculum for nine entrepreneurs (Founders) who were looking to nurture and grow their businesses in a competitive fashion Industry, Facilitated by New Voices and the Shopify for Start-Ups teams these entrepreneurs learned about the business of fashion and how to grow their eCommerce platforms through Shopify’s many tools and community resources. During this process, they were mentored by Dyne Creative Director, Chris Bevans, who gave insight and shared knowledge on the ins and outs of the fashion industry. The culmination of this effort between AFROPUNK & Shopify was the Black Fashion Accelerator Fashion Show that happened on July 13th, 2022, at the Shopify New York City location. Eight of the nine Founders presented their capsule collections, an excellent array of apparel and accessories, to a packed audience. Hosted by AFROPUNK personality, Gitoo, and sounds from DJ Out of Office, the Black Fashion Accelerator Fashion Show was a meeting of black culture and luxury fashion.
Drinks, food, and conversation were flowing, as all eagerly anticipated the showing of the collections. Speakers Anita Asante, Head of Global Strategic Partnerships at AFROPUNK, and Amena Agabaje, Program Lead of Black Entrepreneurship at Shopify kicked off the programming by speaking to the audience about the journey of working on this project and the need to have more initiatives like this in our communities. Rounding the speakers was MIelle CEO, Monique Rodriguez, who gave a hopeful message about the entrepreneur’s journey and the motivation and stamina needed to succeed. After roaring applause and much anticipation, the show began. Local NYC black models from all genders and body shapes strutted their stuff on the runway with hair provided by Mielle and makeup provided by Thread Beauty. Going out of the norm this fashion show wanted its audience to interact with the models —- who were positioned like pedestal statues adorned with colorful and whimsical frocks. After each show, the Founders came to the mic to express their gratitude and share more information about their brands. In the midst of the show, the audience was surprised with a performance from local R&B recording artist, Laya.
Breakdown of all the Founders in the 2022 BFA Class.
Bronté Laurent (Founder, Par Bronte Laurent): par Bronté Laurent is a luxury womenswear fashion brand that creates classic, chic, and minimal designs that offer comfortability and opulence in each piece.
Archie Clay III & Tajh Crutch(Founders, WEAR BRIMS): Wear Brims is a luxury hat and accessory company that is founded on the principles of faith, family, and confidence, which are at the core of every decision and every design they make.
Sophia Danner-Okotie (Founder, BESIDA) Besida is a crafts women’s clothing brand. It is inspired by its West African origins where all its garments are ethically crafted. The brand’s multifunctional designs promote sustainability by increasing the possibility of clothing styles and extending the service cycle of its garments. With its “No Waste” initiative, Besida transforms leftover fabric pieces into stylish hair accessories.
Melissa A. Mitchell (Founder, ABEILLE CREATIONS): Abeille Creations (ABL) is a wearable art & custom design house that offers fashion apparel, athleisure gear, home décor, and fine art. ABL’s ideal audience are those who live life to the fullest and don’t mind standing out in the crowd.
Paakow Essandoh (Founder, MIZIZI): MIZIZI, meaning “roots” in Swahili, is the official athleisure brand for the African Diaspora. MIZIZI’s sports jersey collections have always been designed with the values: of connection, celebration, and representation, in mind. Forever and always, the goal is to #StayRooted.
Sylvester Ndhlovu (Founder, RUVAAFRICWEAR): RuvaAfricWear is a lifestyle brand that celebrates The Culture through everyday functional clothing. RuvaAfricWear is changing the narrative by rejecting Eurocentric fashion standards and empowering people to wear a brand that celebrates them, and clothes that have an intrinsic value.
Valerie Blaise (Founder, VAVVOUNE): Vavvoune is a fashion brand focused on luxury bags and leather goods. Inspired by moods, culture, and moments of nostalgia, all our products are designed and produced in New York City.
Jelisa Smith (Founder, House Of Fleek): House of Fleek offers ready-to-wear and made-to-order high fashion women’s apparel. that offers bold and trendy one-of-a-kind fashions. One of our proudest accomplishments is our commitment to size inclusivity, offering up to size 3X.
Corin Lindsay (Founder, CORIN DEMARCO): Corin DeMarco is a lifestyle and apparel brand that provides premium-quality, culturally relevant apparel, and accessories for Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs).
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