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From Kelly Rowland to A$AP Rocky— Inside Harlem’s Fashion Row Style Awards

First, can you name a fashion show venue more iconic than the Apollo Theater? We’ll wait. For the 16th Annual Fashion Show and Style Awards, Harlem’s Fashion Row selected the iconic theater to honor some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. Though New York Fashion Week has not officially started, the brand—founded by Brandice Daniel—always brings us an eventful experience a few days early and EBONY was in the building.

The night began with a cocktail hour mixer and a Dream in Black Rising Future Makers Showcase sponsored by AT&T. The Dream in Black Rising Future Makers program promotes young Black talent and provides access to the network and resources to realize greater possibilities. Jaivien Kendrick of Bowie University, Jakarie Whitaker of Clark Atlanta University, Jewel Moser, U’lia Hargrove of North Carolina A&T State University, and Tukii Tucker of North Carolina Central University were the five students whose work was showcased.

The Harlem’s Fashion Row awards began with the Kelly Rowland receiving the Fashion Icon Award. Rowland is often revered for her beauty, but the “Merry Liddle” actress has always served us top-notch fashion looks. From her early days in Destiny’s Child, Mama Tina [Knowles] had to create the group’s clothing because brands didn’t want to loan to them—but, that’s a conversation for a different day. The singing powerhouses set fashion trends not just in our community, but across the music industry. 

Kelly Rowland. Image: courtesy of Shutterstock for HFR.

Fashion industry vet Gabriella Karefa-Johnson then received the Editor of the Year award. Karefa-Johnson is not only a stylist, but she is an amazing storyteller. Her gift of storytelling through clothing and photos should be studied.  

Gabriella Karefa-Johnson. Image: courtesy of Shutterstock for HFR.

The award for Stylists of the Year went to Wayman and Micah. The duo is responsible for dressing some of the biggest names in Black Hollywood like Regina King, Niecy Nash, and Taraji P. Henson to name a few. 

Wayman and Micah. Image: courtesy of Shutterstock for HFR.

Designer Stella Jean was presented with the Designer of the Year award. Her efforts to have Black designers added to the Milan Fashion Week schedule shook the industry. She put her foot down and demanded we be included because we are in every city, state, and country—and deserve to be seen. 

Stella Jean. Image: courtesy of Shutterstock for HFR.

Photographer Johnny Nunez was given the Hip Hop Trailblazer award. Over the last 25 years, there has not been a rap legend that didn’t cross Nunez’s lens. 

Johnny Nunez. Image: courtesy of Shutterstock for HFR.

Lastly, that ‘pretty mutha******’ A$AP Rocky received the Virgil Abloh Award. Rocky is the next-generation Harlem legend. His style is next-level and effortless; the man can make a t-shirt from the bodega loo fashionable. He wore clips in his hair that were reminiscent of Rihanna’s doobie wrap that she wore to the 2013 American Music Awards. We love a reference. 

A$AP Rocky. Image: courtesy of Shutterstock for HFR.

After the awards ceremony, came the fashion shows. Guests we served three runway shows from designers Nicole Benefield, Megan Renee, and Aaron Potts. 

Nicole Benefield. Image: courtesy of Shutterstock for HFR.
Megan Smith. Image: courtesy of Shutterstock for HFR.
A. Potts. Image: courtesy of Shutterstock for HFR.

The night concluded with a performance by legendary emcee Doug E. Fresh. Guests stood and swayed back and forth while he hit us with iconic hits to remind us that hip hop started in NYC.

Doug E. Fresh. Image: courtesy of Shutterstock for HFR.

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