By Keith L. Forest
In celebration of Black Business Month, and in honor of the 28th anniversary of his flagship Brooklyn store, global fashion designer Moshood once again brought his legendary New Roots to Culture Fashion Showcase to the village of Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Hosted by Laurie Cumbo, commissioner of cultural affairs for the city of New York, and filmmaker Joseph Grant, the explosive fashion extravaganza took place at Restoration Plaza, 1360 Fulton St., Brooklyn, N.Y., and featured live musical performances and Moshood’s signature African-inspired fashion creations. Other notable civic leaders in attendance included U.S. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, New York State Sen. Kevin Parker, Bed-Stuy Gateway BID Executive Director Dale Charles, and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams who came out to support his mother who annually models for the show.
The high-spirited event kicked off with a live performance from the Kunle Might Sunrise Band featuring lead singer Moses “Kunle Mighty” Ayankunle, a celebrated multi-instrumentalist born into a family of talking drummers. Dressed in traditional West African garb, the band’s percussive rhythms bathed the audience with hypnotic, syncopated licks straight from the motherland. The high energy 10-member band, which is steeped in the percussive JuJu, highlife and Afropop sounds, was formed in Sunrise Spiritual Church. It is managed by Kunle Ade who is the son of legendary Nigerian JuJu singer and multi-disciplined musician, King Sunny Ade.
In addition to the live music, the festive celebration included authentic, fashion-forward designs from a variety of emerging Black designers. Daryl Gordon, a Brooklyn-based accessories and hat designer, was the first designer to take to the stage to present the latest creations from his Brooklyn-inspired Daryl G Designs collection. Arise and Shine, a Brooklyn-based global design company, followed with their African inspired Nigerian bling. Up next was artist, designer, and cancer survivor Lisa Fashion’s one-of-a-kind wearable art. Mo Glover, who debuted her intergenerational, African inspired designs during Moshood’s 27th anniversary showcase, returned with her latest collection paying homage to the Kings and Queens of Brooklyn. Designer Wolete Mariam, aka Empress Wendy, bedazzled the runway with bold, Afrocentric designs from her Rasta Royal Elegance collection.
The festive outdoor festival, which took place on the eve of Black Business Month, is intended to drive traffic into the Bedford Stuyvesant business district. Like most small businesses, COVID-19 took its toll on the Nigerian-born designer’s business. However, thanks to his growing e-commerce platform, and assistance from Bed-Stuy Gateway BID, Moshood has been able to keep his doors open. In gratitude to the village that helped sustain him, Moshood hopes the fashion show will encourage spectators attending from near and far to support other local businesses within the corridor.
The name MOSHOOD/Afrikan spirit has become synonymous with a style that personifies the “spirit” of Afrikan pride. Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, Moshood arrived to make his mark in New York in the early 1980s. After years of tireless effort and hard work he opened his boutique in Brooklyn, New York. His timeless pieces bring together the traditional beauty of Afrikan tailoring and a taste of western flavor. His fluid and elegant designs have been embraced from Harlem to Soweto, Lagos to Bahia, London to Tokyo, and New York to Kingston.
Moshood teaches us through his fashions to love and respect ourselves and the traditions, our traditions, from which we come. Remember: When you wear Moshood, you wear yourself!