Fashion Week Brooklyn is debuting its first international fashion fair in London Sept. 16 to 17.
The show will be held at London’s Indra Studios and will return to its home court with a flagship Brooklyn show happening Oct. 14 to 21. For the past 16 years, Fashion Week Brooklyn has extended its vision beyond the traditional runway show by fostering collaboration, community development, innovation and inclusivity. Nonprofit BK Style Foundation is the show promoter.
In line with the nonprofit’s core values, the London event is themed “Fashion Pronoun #FEMMAS” (a mashup of the words feminine and masculine) and will celebrate creativity, diversity and global fashion, featuring designers from Brooklyn and London. Events span “Uniting Brooklyn and London with #FEMMAS,” “Japan in Brooklyn,” “the Gen K Kids Runway Show” and the inspiring student show featuring designers from U.S. colleges and universities.
“Fashion is a little more fun and doesn’t have a gender identity,” said Rick Davy, chief executive officer and founder of BK Style Foundation and Fashion Week Brooklyn.
There will be eight designers showing in London across the two-day event. One designer is behind a U.K.-based streetwear label called Soi86. “I hate to use the word streetwear,” Davy said, “But I think he’s more fashionable with a lot of sweatsuits but not graphically made. He’s also doing some interesting pieces. It’s a mix, it’s genderless…Most of the brands that we are showing in the U.K. are genderless.”
For the Brooklyn event, Davy described a full run-of-show including the kick-off kid’s show at Kings Plaza and an outpost at experimental shopping mall in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood called Brooklyn Beauty/Fashion Labo. There, an upcycling workshop will be held where show-goers can remix denim and kimonos. Students from Baruch to FIT are also playing a part behind the scenes with setup.
The impetus for BK Style Foundation has always been impact. The U.S. Census Bureau logged 7,130 fashion designers in New York State with estimates showing only a slim representation of Black designers and those from the LGBTQ-identifying community. Fashion Week Brooklyn is determined to change these statistics by providing a global platform for designers of color and emerging talent, according to the event’s organizers.
Davy and his partner Bridgett Artise at Sustainable Fashion Week U.S. pioneered the designer-in-residency program at Material for the Arts. Residents include Sarah Nsikak, who makes richly storied patchwork designs (@sarahnsikak on Instagram), and Sunni Dixon, who makes edgy Saks-loved footwear (@sunnisunnistudio on Instagram). The program provides free items and materials from MFTA, as well as a $1,000 stipend.
BK Style Foundation has a similar program at Brooklyn Beauty/Fashion Labo called “Sustainable Market.” Under its “Stitch for Success” program, the nonprofit secures sewing machines for aspiring fashion designers and provides a space to work and sell their items.
According to Davy, there are plans in place for a Japan show in November 2024, and the hope is that the nonprofit can further secure partnerships to advance its legacy.
“We would like to get more funding, and we’d like to really be recognized by our peers, like the CFDA,” Davy said. “We’d hope that they’d support us or a big brand like Jay-Z who would come in and spend some money and [show] dedication behind our program.”
He mentioned the organization’s Fashion Movie Evening Out with Brooklyn’s Central Library and its Stitch for Success programs as key ways to partner with the nonprofit. “Anything to do with fashion and a collaboration would be helpful not just to us but the community,” he said.