The trend is Brooklyn. Eight Brooklyn-born and Brooklyn-made designers displayed their creations at the first-ever Brooklyn Made fashion show at Industry City on Aug. 24. The pieces are now available at Brooklyn Made.
The selection of designers showed different extremes in styles, colors, and silhouettes.
“They each found a different face of Brooklyn swagger and they are now going to make it a trend everywhere else,” said Rick Davy, founder and director of the BK Style Foundation and the creative director of Fashion Week Brooklyn, who produced Thursday’s show. “Brooklyn styles are diverse but so recognizable. They are full of character and art-forward. Plus, the mix of cultures here makes for a huge creative pool. And now that these designers have a platform to display their work on, they are going to transcend.”
Another common denominator through the board, according to the producer, was the recycling and upcycling of previously cut or used fabrics.
“This wave of designers are aware and concerned about the impact of fast fashion and the amount of materials that end in landfills, and they are not interested in taking part is that,” said Davy.
Among the talent was Vogue Paris featured designer Adeleke Sijuwade, who kicked off the show with his collection “L,” a series made with African patterns reflecting his Nigerian heritage, influences from Western movies, hip-hop and the ‘dandy’ cuts the designer is known for. Sijuwande’s creations have been featured on L’Officiel Hommes, Oprah, Essence Magazine, Style Online, Sartorialist, Uptown, and The New Yorker.
“I used to spend a lot of time worrying about stitches not being straight and people not liking that,” said Sijuwade, who said he operates as a one-man show. “Now, this here was a liberation of my expression and taste of style, much less controlled by the status quo. I like wearing yellow pants suits, cap toes, wing tips, pink pants and bowler hats, so this collection is a lot of my personal taste in a ‘ready to wear’ way.”
At the front row of the show sat Randy Peers, president of Brooklyn’s Chamber of Commerce, which runs Brooklyn Made store. Peers wore a Sijuwade denim jacket with a yellow print from the L collection.
“He is an all-classic-American style guy, and still, he picked out that jacket and he looked great,” said Sijuwade. “It’s not about your origins, where you live or who you are surrounded by. It’s about how you feel when you wear the clothes.”
Following the Nigerian veteran came punk-goth designers Don’t Sleep and Nixx Pain, minimalist designer “FREE”, founder of all-ages apparel Zyem NYC, Monique Glover, femme-inspired designers Vernice and Virginia Cathey and sustainability-forward Melissa Lockwood.
“Where my admiration lies is in the women at a marketplace doing some shopping, the ones you see and you wonder, how did they put their outfits together?” said Sijuwade. “They have head wraps and tops that were not designed in the same style, but somehow work great together and they just throw them on. That’s where you see a whole new and authentic expression.”