Professional models will strut down the runway at Brooklyn’s Central Library on Friday night, donning original pieces created by aspiring designers looking to stitch their way into the world of high fashion.
The May 5 show features work from participants in the BKLYN Fashion Academy — an intensive 16-week program where participants learn from leading fashion experts, and create a ready-to-wear capsule collection.
Throughout the course, the students, who come with diverse skill sets and divergent backgrounds, learn both the creative and business sides of fashion while designing a themed collection that is unique to their tastes and vision, said the program’s lead instructor.
“Some of them went to college for fashion design; some of them have been self taught; some of them haven’t really done a lot of designing or sewing, but have a real passion for it,” said Benjamin Mach.
The program kicks off with a seminar where the crop of aspiring style couturiers explore the theme of that season’s curriculum — with this course’s motif being ‘Ancient Egypt: Gods of the Runway!’ — and then move on to begin a general structure for their design.
“For a full day we just kind of go through and look at the theme and what their inspiration is and start to create the general idea and shape of the collection they want to produce,” Mach told Brooklyn Paper. “The program is all about giving people the support that they need to start a small business in fashion. It’s a range of creative and business focused courses that they get to take.”
The Ancient Egyptian theme comes after previous years that included ‘American Fashion through Conflict’ and ‘History of Carnevale (Carnival).’
Mach, who has played a role in all five seasons of the BKLYN Fashion Academy, has worked in the industry for over 25 years. Originally from Australia, the design expert worked on his own brand before taking his creativity to London and then New York. He was also a contestant on the hit television series ‘Project Runway.’
During his time with BPL, Mach says one of the most rewarding parts of the program is watching the creatives embrace their backgrounds and implement themes from their life experiences into their work.
“It’s really just this kind of beautiful evolution that I’ve watched unfold,” he told Brooklyn Paper.
According to Mach, the runway event will be a celebration, not just for the designers, but for the Brooklyn community at large.
After viewing the students’ work, he hopes the community is able to see the importance of investing in libraries and art programs, at a time when government funding for both are on the chopping block.
“With this program, it’s really important, especially after five years of establishing itself, and it’s proven to be something the community really loves,” he said. “I think it’s really important that the support keeps coming in from a financial point of view.”
The runway is guaranteed to be a night of entertainment for all, even Mach.
“I’m excited to see how all of the work presents,” Mach said. “It’s just really fun to be able to work so closely with everyone and to be seeing everything take shape and then suddenly when things hit a runway, it’s kind of different.”
The work of the BKLYN Fashion Academy Class of 2023 will be on display at the Brooklyn Central Library (10 Grand Army Plaza) on Friday May 5. Doors will open at 5 p.m., and the show will kick off at 6 p.m.