For the last nine years, Fashion Week Brooklyn has been a celebration of budding talent in the world of fashion and, with each new edition, more and more people are looking to Brooklyn as a must-see for underground fashion.
Fashion Week Brooklyn / BK Style Foundation (The nonprofit that organizes the event) got its start not only as a stage for those designers who hadn’t found their place in the bigger Fashion Weeks throughout the US, but also as a way to support a different humanitarian cause. With each edition, FWBK has supported associations such as Soles4Souls Foundation, MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Art In Motion Show, Denim Day NYC and Colel Chabad, all to raise awareness for issues such as human rights, the fight against AIDS, environmentally friendly initiatives, poverty and more. In this most recent edition, Fashion Week Brooklyn and Denim Day NYC have teamed up to talk about the issue of sexual violence. Fashion, education and raising awareness are the keys to this week of fashion.
So Catchy! Where Fashion Begins was a media partner this year at FWBK and today we’re bringing you an interview with the creator of the event, Rick Davy. He tells us more about how he made the most famous borough in New York into a cult gathering place for lovers of independent fashion and an example of the community of Brooklyn coming together.
SC!: So you’re originally from Trinidad, why did you decide to move to NYC and how did you get your start in the Fashion world?
RICK DAVY: I moved to NYC to be to be a dancer and study Fashion Photography, Film and TV. I stared working as a Production Manger/Producer on music videos, working on the videos allowed me to assist with the styling of the artist. A good friend invited me to stylist with him on some TV shows and magazine editorial, and that began my start in the fashion world.
SC!: In 2006 you decided to start the BK Foundation, what was your goal for the project? How did you find the resources to make the first FWB a reality?
RD: After working a few years as a stylist and pulling garments from some amazing underground designers, I realized there was no professional platform for the designers to showcase their work outside of NY Fashion week and Gen-Art. I lived in Brooklyn and knew that the borough will be changing and need to have its own fashion platform to support the borough creative talent.
The idea to start the non-profit and FW|BK platform was to support Brooklyn emerging designers, along with emerging national and international designers. Through the non-profit, our mission is to support and work with young designers in high schools and colleges to give them a professional platform to showcase their work.
The first years of show were all funded with personal funds from selling our home and cashing in our 401K plan (we had limited financial sponsorship over the years). We have a strong belief in the project and know we can build a brand that the community will support and be proud of.
Designs by Mark Cordell – Photo: Shawn Punch
SC!: When you reflect on these last nine years of FWBK and take stock, how does it look?
RD: It has been a struggle to gain the financial sponsorship support we need, but we have had some amazing support from the community with donations of venue, lighting, sound, production team and other production items through the years. We can say it is a community effort. At this point we really need to gain more financial sponsorship to match up with the growth of Brooklyn. Overall we are looking good with our team, Executive Director (Abby Wallach), Creative Director (Dalibor Porcic), Marketing Director (Pierre Voltaire) and the support of Claire McKinney PR, along with our core team (Jerry Jordan, Tiffany Coates, Mike Johnson and Dewon Jones).
SC!: How many people apply to take part in the show every season? Where do the majority of the applicants come from?
RD: Each season FW|BK showcases an average of 24-28 designers. We don’t have a majority of applications from any one place-it is a balance of local, national, and international designers. We have local and national designers, but because of the brand awareness overseas, we tend to get a lot of international applications. Everyone wants to be in Brooklyn!
Designs by Angie Yang – Photo: Shawn Punch
SC!: How does the selection process work?
RD: Our creative team reviews each designer’s application from their previous and current designs, with a focus on the overall design, workmanship, and the cohesiveness of the collection, along with other design details.
SC!: What do you think were some of the successes of this latest edition of FWBK?
RD: This last season SS 2016 was great for us working with the community to create a borough wide experience. We engaged galleries and other organizations to create a full week of FW|BK. The week included fashion art installation, press reception for models and designers, custom shopping experiences, a menswear presentation, along with the runway show that also incorporated fashion presentation. It was all a success!
Designs by Sohung Tong – Photo: Shawn Punch
SC!: You support sustainability and eco-friendly initiatives so, what is, in your opinion, the future of fashion in those aspects?
RD: We think this is an important area, everyone loves fashion and loves to shop. However, because of the mass production of items to satisfy our fashion and style needs, there is an abundance of clothing that goes into the trash, yearly. We should all do our part to find ways to reuse clothing, to help keep the planet cleaner. Sustainability will be key to the future of fashion and style. Designers will not only design garment with technology, but with a sustainably aspect.
SC!: What’s your take on wearable tech and 3D printing?
RD: Wearable tech and 3D print is here and will continue to have an impact on fashion and style. The impact will be felt more as the technology gets easier for the masses. It will be interesting to see how it evolves and where the designers will get their inspiration from to create wearable designs.
Designs by Iliana Quander – Photo: Shawn Punch
SC!: Could you give us any hints of what might be coming in the next edition?
RD: 2016 will be our 10-year anniversary, so we are working to get the Brooklyn community more involved. We want to have a borough wide experience and showcase some of the amazing talent in the borough alongside the national and international designers. 2016 will have more fashion exhibitions, more shopping experiences in BK, more community involvement across the borough and an amazing showcase of designers.
SC!: Fashion is in need of…
RD: More individuality and the recognition of more emerging designers, so many talented designers are unknown.
SC!: Some young fashion designers you admire…
SC!: Where do you think the world of fashion is heading?
RD: It’s fun to see that there is more individuality and freedom with style. I hope we can continue to allow people to fully express themselves through fashion and style. Fashion designers will incorporate more technology into their work and will work fabric from some unconventional sources.
SC!: Your next challenge is…
RD: Our next challenge is to have a successful 10-year anniversary 2016, and expand our non-profit Stitch for Success and Designers Exchange programs.
All photos courtesy of Fashion Week Brooklyn
Catwalk photos: Shawn Punch
All other photos:
Photo / Creative direction: Dalibor Porcic
Stylist: Aleksandra Ziravac
Models: Darnell and Tegan (TCM)
Casting director: Jerry Brown
FWBK founder / director: Rick Davy
Womenswear: A-Z by Aleksandra Ziravac
Menswear: Sohung Designs
Translation and Layout by Michael Padilla