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I had the opportunity to attend New York Fashion Week recently. 

If you know me or this blog, it's been a very long time coming. Ok, maybe like three years but still it was a plesant surprise to receive my first real invite to a NYFW show, this side of the continent***. I felt truly special, as NYFW  seems to set out to make one feel, with the stark scent of exclusivity. But I also knew almost immediately, I couldn't let the opportunity pass me by. It was practically divine. On the very same day I looked up the dates for this past season's show, was the very same day I ranted about the state of NYFW, and the very same day Yuna Yang sent me an invite. Something much larger than I was at work, so I took heed and followed through with the prompting (Thank you sweet baby Jesus).

Yuna Yang 

I had never heard of Yuna Yang prior, but was instantly gravitated to her work based on her polished silhouettes seen via her site. Jump hop skip a few weeks later, I'm sitting in her F17 show audience to witness her new collection live. I was hesitant at first given the finances. Even upon arrival I was questioning the setting and dark mood of the stage being set wondering if it was all worth it. It wasn't what I'd image to be the stage for a fashion show. Either way, I was fervently channeling gratitude given I'd flew in just moments earlier, with no sleep the night prior, hopped on a train, and there in the flesh at a real life fashion show during NYFW, just like that. Near magic. Did I mention there was a ticket with my name on it? K. 

The runway show closed with a captivating soul singer accompanied by a guitarist as the audience soaked in the looks for the last time. I won't go into too much details about the collection as Yang has ample coverage here where you can check it out and generate thoughts for yourself. However, I will say I was truly grateful for the opportunity to experience the sense of excitement, curiosity, and eagerness of attending a FW show. Not to mention, the full display of artistry that was, the conception, creation, and execution of a proper runway collection. 

FIT 'Black Fashion Designers'

Balmain in the flesh. Stella Jean in the flesh. Puffy in the flesh. 

I stumbled upon the wonderful gallery collection now up at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology). 

'Black Fashion Designers' was brilliantly, and simply executed. As the title exudes both complexity and clarity, we see the history of black designers traced way way back back, teaching me things I'd never been taught before. From Sean "Diddy"/ "Puffy" Combs' Sean John moment, to Balmain, to Stella Jean, to Tracy Reese, I soaked it all in as the work of designers I'd admired stared right back at me. It was as though through witnessing these works on display, forged a realization of the sheer authenticity of being able to interact with the work of designers up close and personal. I mean, I couldn't touch it as I was in a gallery after all, but the craftsmanship registers a million times more in 3D. For start, I gasped aloud when Balmain's piece so elegantly flashed across my eye gate. It was a basket weaved dress from the collection that put Balmain on the map, at least for me, fall 2012's RTW. It was also a collection I featured here on the blog ("I've Got a Thing for you Oliver - Balmain F12RTW").

I could kind of go on about the significance of this show. From the actual pieces on display, to the video interviews and runway shows on view, to the actual print copies of Ebony, or Vogue from the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s, showcasing elements of fashion so very 'conspicuously absent' from the mainstream. I get irritated by this lack often, but this show validated the existence of black people in fashion fashion. And when I say fashion fashion, I mean the recognized industry of fashion. Lord knows despite my mother, or aunts, or siblings being regular degular everyday folk, you can't tell them they aren't walking living examples of fashion and style. Many of my life's fashionistas will never walk their runway, but life is our runway.
I won't go into the images from the show here because it's counterintuitive to my experience, but if you're in NYC for any reason, make time to see some of this work at FIT.



Tibi's collection was surely nothing short of amazing. I'd been keeping abreast with their promo on social leading up to the show so I knew it was going to be right up my alley. It was so up my alley, the colors I was wearing that day basically fit right in with their pastel, jewel toned theme. The whimsical yet clean silhouettes of satin dresses or tailored suits, alas no one does the wide array of feminine silhouettes like Tibi. I adore their ability to play with shapes, fits, and just an overall notion to challenge the expectation of womenswear. They've done this for ages, but still manage to make it look absolutely refreshed each season. 

What an experience. 

I'd given myself a day to truly dive into fashion week though I would be there for an additional few days. Since my only ticket in was with Yang, I wasn't trying to play gawker at any other show because been there, done that. However I was already so full having barely done even a quarter of the events most folks do in a day, but still I went to my gracious god sister's home in BK that evening, quite content.

I truly look forward to the moments of exchange I'll be able to have in the future with designers, buyers, creative directors, curators, etc. I've realized now, fashion shows are as much about the ability to dialogue and share fleeting thoughts on the visual cues a collection might give, just as much as it is viewing the work. I wanted to just shout at someone on the road, "Isn't this amazing!?" They would have no clue though. Except! I saw model Alécia Morais fresh from the Tibi runway walking right by the Starbucks window as I sat down jotting reflections from the very show homie was just walking in, I took it as a sign I'd be there next year. 

Though my post reflection from the show wasn't shared in-person with anyone, I consider this blog my reflective space so feel free to talk back. Though- Dani, head designer and CEO over at Clyde got a mouthful of my excitement as I stopped by her studio sale right before the show! Despite the lightweight feel of Clyde hats, they pack a punch in terms of detail, quality, and aesthetics. So basically, instant closet staple, instant statement piece (wrapped up in mustard gold felt), instant classic, and instant, yes.

I went to say "hi" whilst taking advantage of a 60% off sale on my dream mustard dome hat. The two day sale featured work from other independent designers of both clothing and accessories, however the star of the sale was Dani's hats that she'd designed from years prior on amazing mark down prices ($48)! If I had more guap I would have copped, but I was there for one thing and one thing mainly, that mustard dome hat. After accidentally guiding myself to the wrong address, and taking the E train to BK when I thought I was going to Manhattan for the Yuna show, there just happened to be ONE last dome hat when I gave in to fate, and accepted the flyness that was about to come my way. In that perfect mustard tint, size large for my big head, and on a heck of a sale, you know I had to jump once more. You can call it fate, but I call it destiny. •

See post here here and here for previous NYFW reflections. 

Dis ain't sponsored b. / images courtesy of Yuna Yang ™
***attended Istanbul Fashion Week in 2014 while abroad in Turkey. See video


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