As we celebrate NYFW, ESSENCE spotlights the Black creatives behind the scenes with the Best In Black Fashion Awards. Through the groundbreaking contributions of these fashion connoisseurs, we’re seeing a shift in the community. The night kicked off with a welcoming of the who’s who of the fashion space with an intimate dinner setting.
“The word “fashion” is often misunderstood as what we display aesthetically; however, authentically, it is the armor that sustains us in the battle to move mindsets and moments forward,” says Caroline Wanga, President & CEO of Essence Ventures.
This year’s Best In Black Fashion Awards celebrated the creativity that fashion has embodied in “The Garment” and celebrated the Black designers and leaders in fashion. The experience served as the ultimate place to gather during NYFW, radiating light on Black creators and talent.
“This underrated truth makes ‘The Garment’ the most accurate and potent weapon in the toolkit of the gladiators who proactively proclaim victory in perpetuity through the pursuit of their purpose, and we are proud to illuminate the gladiators that curate the garments that accelerate our quest to conquer each day,” Wanga said.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 07: Caroline Wanga and Brandice Daniels speak onstage during the 2023 ESSENCE Best In Black Fashion Awards Dinner & Party. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)
With the climate of Black designers fighting for representation and space, these visionaries continue to create their own lanes in the industry.
The Best In Black Fashion Awards honored pioneers Antoine Gregory, Bernard James, Taylor Russell, Recho Omindi, Telfar Clemens, Brandice Daniel, Carlos Nazario, Precious Lee and ESSENCE Cover Star Sergio Hudson as Designer of the Year.
“You work so hard and plan so firmly to have these moments as a designer,” Hudson told ESSENCE. “If anybody tells you they don’t plan for these moments, they’re lying. We all plan for them because we know this is what’s gonna make your career. But to actually get that moment—it’s like a kiss on the cheek from the universe. You’ve been grinding, trying, believing in your destiny, and trusting in God to make this happen. And then it did!”
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 07: Edvin Thompson and Doquan Hines attend the 2023 ESSENCE Best In Black Fashion Awards Dinner & Party. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)
The evening set the tone for New York Fashion Week, showing Black designers that their creations and visions are shifting the culture.
As fashion enthusiasts continue to celebrate a significant week, experiences like the Best In Black Fashion Awards provide the necessary tools for Black-owned brands and creatives to succeed in the space they created.
Historically, the fashion industry has not been a place where Black designers and talent could flourish at the most elevated levels. Still, spaces like The Best In Black Fashion Awards and ESSENCE Fashion House are changing the narrative and giving the fashion visionaries of the next generation their flowers.
About Kenyatta: Clark Atlanta University and Medill School alumna Kenyatta Victoria is the Girls United writer covering everything from news, pop culture, lifestyle, and investigative stories. When not reporting, she’s diving deep into her curated playlists or binging her favorite comfort shows.