Harlem’s Fashion Row Presents ICON360
Harlem’s Fashion Row
Many upcoming, independent, Black fashion designers are finding their businesses slowing down due to COVID-19 severely altering the economy. As a solution, CEO and founder of Harlem’s Fashion Row, Brandice Daniel, launched a new nonprofit (ICON360) to aid designers in rapid response to the coronavirus pandemic, at her global virtual fundraising event, last Saturday and dedicated 100% of ticket sales to the new non-profit fund.
In 2007, Daniel founded Harlem’s Fashion Row to provide a voice for multicultural designers, intending to have designers of color to reach the same opportunities and connections as their white counterparts. Long before inclusivity became a widely-accepted benchmark, across the fashion industry, Harlem’s Fashion Row has been championing and uplifting designers of color for over ten years. However, there’s more work to be done, as less than 1% of designers sold in major department stores are of color.
Bloomberg reported that about half of retailers said their ecommerce traffic has trended downward since mid-February (the period when coronavirus began impacting the U.S.) and research conducted by CommerceNext shows that 64.5% of retailers are not seeing sales shift from stores to ecommerce. Although the current economic climate has brought forth uncertainty for many designers, with the halt in productions and dramatic declines in sales, Harlem’s Fashion Row decided to take action and assist designers of color through these unprecedented times. The nonprofit program, ICON360, will help provide forgivable relief to designers of color who are currently pivoting their businesses during this pandemic and need funding to scale.
The exclusive virtual fundraiser supported by Nike, Gap Inc., Shea Moisture, and Diageo featured industry luminaries such as Teen VOGUE’s Editor in Chief, Lindsey Peoples Wagner, Sherri McMullen, Christopher John Rogers, winner of Vogue CFDA Fashion Fund, esteemed designer Tracey Reese, as well as the National Basketball Association’s senior vice president of diversity and inclusion Liliahn Majeed, to name a few. During the virtual event, aspiring designers and the fashion community came together to discuss the future of fashion, how to navigate the current retail market, intentional marketing, and social strategies to leverage within a pandemic. Guests also had the opportunity to view several fashion shows with past HFR designers as well as new upcoming and emerging designers and engage in exciting presentations.
In a statement to Forbes, Daniel expressed her full support of designers of color, especially during COVID-19: “During this crisis, I thought it was critical to do everything in our power to support designers of color. I’m incredibly inspired by the resilience of designers, who are making bold pivots in their businesses. As a fashion community, we have an opportunity to help scale the businesses of designers who are thriving even in the middle of a pandemic.”
Designers can apply to receive a grant on June 15, 2020. Apply here.