“Black is the new black” announced Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR) founder Brandice Daniel as the theme for this year’s annual runway event—gone virtual for 2020 on September 9. With major sponsors like Nike (among others), an ongoing partnership (and $1 million grant) from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and an upcoming collaboration set to debut this weekend with upscale children’s brand Janie & Jack, Daniel, who has championed rising Black designers for well over a decade, has been at the forefront of putting that ethos into action in the fashion industry.
Daniel clearly also includes “can’t stop, won’t stop” in that ethos, since on Tuesday, Harlem’s Fashion Row made yet another big announcement aimed at elevating designers of color, launching a new sustainable design competition for BIPOC designers, in partnership with Banana Republic.
“HFR and Banana Republic are launching an open call in their search for their next breakout designer to produce a capsule collection,” reads a release from HFR. “This partnership will provide exposure to creative BIPOC designers and will create opportunities that otherwise did not exist for these talented individuals.”
More details and how to apply
- Banana Republic x HFR will focus on BIPOC designers who design for women and men.
- Qualified applicants must be 18 or over and a legal resident of the United States
- The application period opened on October 6, 2020, and will close on October 20 at 11:59 pm, ET.
- Designers can apply via the Harlem’s Fashion Row website and must submit a resume, portfolio, and a 60-second video introducing themselves and their brand. A design brief for the prospective collection also indicates that applicants are expected to create a 300-word or less personal statement and digital mood board expressing why they’d be a good fit with Banana Republic’s aesthetic.
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The brief is also downloadable on HFR’s site and further specifies that the collection is intended to be sustainable and “inspired by the natural world”—understandable since Banana Republic prides itself on being the first upcycling brand, “founded on the concept of repurposing surplus clothing...[and] rooted in sustainability.” The fashion brand also believes “authentic style has the power to transcend trends, generations and cultures,” which explains why it has remained a retail staple for over 40 years.
With a focus on a more inclusive future, only one designer will be selected to design the Banana Republic x HFR collection—for which the winner of the competition will also receive a $10,000 prize. The winner will be announced on the Harlem’s Fashion Row platform, and the resulting capsule collection will launch on September 22, 2021.