Harlem’s Fashion Row has forged a partnership with LVMH North America to support the next generation of designers of colour, as part of an initiative for the organisations to move towards a more diverse and equitable fashion industry.
In a press conference on August 17 in New York, the partnership was revealed and marks a commitment form LVMH to support Harlem’s Fashion Row’s mission to discover, mentor, and showcase emerging POC talents through high-visibility event and customised pipeline programs, starting this particular partnership with New York Fashion Week.
For the event, LVMH will act as the title sponsor of Harlem’s Fashion Row’s 15th annual fashion show at the beginning of NYFW in September in Harlem. In support of an emerging new generation of BIPOC designers, LVMH’s role will be to not only commit resources to address the issue of diversity, but will connect emerging BIPOC designers to the brands within the LVMH group, including, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Christian Dior, Fendi and Sephora.
“This is the biggest partnership we’ve ever had in North America and we couldn’t be more excited about it. Of course, there’s a D&I component to this, but first and foremost this is about celebrating the incredible wealth of heritage, history, culture, art and innovation of Harlem and bringing that into our world. We search the world for creative talent, it is our competitive advantage. It is the future of every single one of our brands,” said Anish Melwani, LVMH North America chief executive officer at the press conference.
“Through this partnership, HFR and LVMH North America look forward to continuing their mission of giving designers of color access to individuals and organizations that can help shape their future,” said Brandice Daniel, CEO and founder of HFR. “We’ve successfully introduced a wealth of diverse designers to a world-class fashion curriculum consisting of invaluable tools and resources to grow their businesses and have educated Gen Z on how they too can change fashion’s course. Conjunctively, we’ve created opportunities for youth to engage as early as high school, meeting the marginalized, particularly HBCU students where they are in their fashion careers.”
For the Harlem’s Fashion Row show, three emerging designers will show their work on September 6 for the runway show. Clarence Ruth, Jonathan Hayden and Nicole Benefield are the designers that have been chosen for the opportunity.
“LVMH is committed to having a positive impact in our communities and realizing the path forward set by Virgil Abloh and others who helped foster equity and inclusion in the fashion industry by supporting and building a pool of diverse creative talent.” Smith said. “It is critical for LVMH as an organization to continue developing talent of colour internally, while ensuring the relevance of our brands and our products in an evolving and diverse consumer landscape. We see this partnership with HFR as a wonderful opportunity to focus on values, culture, business and community all at the same time, as these notions are not mutually exclusive, but interconnected and reinforcing one another.”