The end of summer is a time when designers collaborate and bring elegance, art, and timelessness to New York City known as Fashion Week. Fashion is a billion dollar industry; one would only assume that that the makeup of designers would reflect the melting pot of the city.

Unfortunately, designers of color merely represent 1% of designers sold in major department stores. Disappointed with these statistics Harlem Fashion Row was founded in 2007 to be a voice for designers of color and to provide a platform for them to showcase and sell their collections to leaders in the fashion industry.

Harlem Fashion Row celebrates designers of color. Pandora jewelry proudly sponsored Harlem Fashion Row as they presented the collections of K.Milele, Harlem Haberdashery, and Josh & Nicol. The show opened with an award ceremony honoring trailblazers of color in the fashion community. Fashion designer Byron Lars started his own label over 20 years ago. He has designed gowns for first lady Michelle Obama and was recognized with the Designer of the Year Award. Super model Beverly Johnson took home the Icon 360 Award.

Forty years ago Beverly Johnson made history as the first African American model to ever grace the cover of Vogue Magazine. She graciously accepted her award, and says, “There were more black models and designers in 70’s than there are today. When I go to New York Fashion week and there are no women of color on the runway, that is a problem that needs to be addressed.

This is why Harlem Fashion Row is so important we need to be a beacon of light for ourselves.”

For more information on Harlem’s Fashion Row visit