Hot on the stacked lucite heels of the worlds major fashion shows: New York, London, Paris and Milan, comes a quirky, little fashion show from Brooklyn.
At the former shows, designer labels are standard uniform if you want to avoid looking like a gatecrasher, haughty attitudes are a must if you want to combat aggressive PR reps, and a tough game face is required once you are caught sneaking onto front row. Yet at Brooklyn Fashion Week(end), which just wrapped up its second annual showing this past Sunday, all you really need is lots of enthusiasm and a genuine love for Brooklyn -- especially its fashion.
From Nico & Adrian's bright, halter dresses and lamé hot-shorts which provided ample rear views, to James Hectors simple graphic tees and hoodies, Brooklyn Fashion Week(end) provided lots of highs and lows. Highs included vibrant, well-tailored suits by menswear designer and dresser of Hollywood's A-list actors, Nana Boateng. His striking suits (and equally striking male models) are a reminder that the fashion wheel can indeed be reinvented to produce something dizzyingly beautiful, fresh, and worth your rent money.
Then there were the lows. Or rather things that broke protocol with fashion week as this fourth row veteran knows it: an emcee who moderated the show and announced several intermissions, high fives on the runway, audience members leaning onto the catwalk to shake hands with models, and celebrity guests from the cast of HBO's The Wire, who gave winks, nods and waves as the strutted down the catwalk.
As I took all this in, I alternated between loving the show and laughing at it. For all its production and big name sponsors, it felt more like a really well produced high school fashion show than a professional, corporate sponsored event.
But as I stifled a laugh I had an epiphany: for all its quirkiness, Brooklyn Fashion Week(end), which featured a bevy of young, up-and-coming designers, several models of color, and a livelier audience than I've ever seen at a fashion show, could teach its New York, London, Paris and Milan counterparts a few fashionable lessons: a love of spontaniety, a respect for diversity, and designing for the passion of fashion not for the profit from it. The little weekend that could proved that it has a big future.
Follow Zandile Blay on Twitter: www.twitter.com/zandile