Fifty talented high school students pose with special guests and panelists at HFR’s recent Lunch and Learn affair at Melba’s Restaurant, on W. 114th St. and Frederick Douglas Blvd. Credit: Courtesy photo

Harlem Fashion Row’s (HFR) Lunch and Learn affair, held recently at Melba’s Restaurant in Harlem, NYC, was a tremendous success! This well-attended event, done in collaboration with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), featured a panel discussion where industry executives highlighted important business tips for fifty talented high school students who participate in either celebrity stylist Misa Hilton’s Fashion Academy or Tony Danza’s The Stars of Tomorrow Program. 

Students dressed to impress. Their looks were fashion-forward, and in some cases, futuristic and colorful. Melba’s delicious three-course lunch featured all of the tasty, yummy cultural delicacies the restaurant is famous for.

Living legend and HFR’s “Godfather,” Dapper Dan (Daniel Day) and Tiffany L. Zeno, show producer with NBC Universal Local, were in attendance, along with fashion mogul Misa Hilton. The three fashion designers showing in HFR’s upcoming Fall 2022 NYFW show, Clarence Ruth, Johnathan Hayden, and Nicole Benefield, were also in the house.  

Moderated by Brandice Daniels, CEO & founder of HFR, the guest panelists included Corey Smith, VP Diversity Inclusion LVMH; Jasmine Humphrey, Global PR director, Tiffany’s & Co.; Nelson Gillum, director, Consumer Engagement, Moet Hennessy.

HFR’s Lunch and Learn event provided invaluable insights into breaking through adversity in fashion for upper echelon leadership of color.

“We wanted to do something with the fashion community and decided this was the right place and time,” said Daniels. “We are here to serve you.” When you are working for a company, “make sure you have a comfortable experience,” advised Corey Smith. “Expand your world. Read the stories of Black authors like Malcolm X, James Baldwin, Richard Wright.” 

Brandice asked the students what words inspired them. Answers included, “Love,” “Creativity,” “Confidence,” “Humanity,” and “Being adaptable.” Nelson insisted that,  “After high school, students should spend time finding out who they are. And, question everything.” Panelists recounted their professional journeys and gave a mini masterclass on excelling in this world. They encouraged the next generation of creative catalysts to dream, work hard, and to succeed. 

HFR continues to move to improve the environment by introducing designers to the importance of sustainability. Presently, there is an opportunity for emerging talent of color to move forward. There’s no doubt that the fashion industry has changed. Their approach needs to be different, original and environmentally friendly. 

HFR is thrilled to usher in a new era of diversification in the luxury fashion space, actualizing and executing strategic partnerships. Harlem’s Fashion Row continues to instill confidence in our youth and is truly moving to make working in fashion achievable. 

HFR is vying for inclusivity, championing change through collaboration, and challenging the industry to acknowledge young, passionate, up and coming courtiers of color.

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