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Harlem’s Fashion Row Selects Six African-American Designers to Compete

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From The New York Daily News:

It’s time to meet the finalists.

Six young, African-American designers have applied for the chance that could launch a career. Thanks to Harlem’s Fashion Row, three of them will present runway shows uptown on Sept. 16, during the next New York Fashion Week.

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And it’s up to New Yorkers to decide who makes the cut.

“We looked for people who have a very clear vision,” says Brandice Henderson, founder and CEO of Harlem’s Fashion Row. “I wanted someone who had a picture in their head of the person they are dressing.”

From 15 semifinalists, Hender­son and her team culled the top six, evaluating portfolios and interviewing designers in person. In the end, three will make it to the runway, backed by a marketing push and a network of fashion industry know-how – all for free.

“A lot of young designers aren’t able to fund a presentation which would introduce them to buyers and editors,” says Henderson, “so Harlem’s Fashion Row has become about giving them a platform they might not have otherwise.”

Henderson established the organization in 2007, thinking it would be a one-time event. As she talked to designers, she realized how many resources were needed to get a collection off the ground.

“It became a challenge, even, to find designers of color,” she says. “We’d have to go through a friend of a friend of a friend.”

Today Harlem’s Fashion Row is one part networking group, one part fashion incubator, and offers seminars and conversation series. For the six designers currently dreaming up collections, however, it is the chance for a big city debut. Who will be on the runway in Harlem this year?

Read more here.

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