A 'totally different level of grit' — Fashion agency elevates African-American work in Memphis, New York – The Commercial Appeal

Brandice Henderson moved to New York Metropolis for 12 years, however do not you dare name her a New Yorker.

"The whole lot I do, I all the time say, 'I’m Brandice, and I’m from Memphis,'" the 40-year-previous East Excessive graduate stated. 

Henderson was again in her hometown Saturday, and he or she introduced the massive metropolis together with her.

Henderson is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Harlem's Fashion Row, a style agency she based that elevates the work of African-American and multicultural designers. She's right here incessantly to see household, however each 5 years she returns to Memphis with Large Apple designers, editors and different trade representatives in tow.

On Saturday, the historic Clayborn Temple was the positioning of an all-day occasion offering inspiration for these interested by a profession in style and highlighting Memphis designers. 


Harlem's Fashion Row celebrated its 10th anniversary with an occasion in the founder's residence metropolis of Memphis. Jennifer Pignolet/The Commercial Appeal

The venue, the positioning of a lot of the group behind the Civil Rights Motion, offered the proper backdrop to raise the voices of individuals of coloration, Henderson stated,

"When you concentrate on the sort of the historical past right here and what they had been making an attempt to perform, and being seen as equal, it’s principally the identical factor I’m making an attempt to do with Harlem's Fashion Row however in a a lot lighter topic space," she stated.

Her group, impressed by a small style present in a Brooklyn restaurant in 2007, gives a platform for designers to showcase their work. 

When Henderson got down to begin Harlem's Fashion Row, she began searching for black designers and could not discover any.

"I feel they had been already there, largely, and simply wanted to be found and uncovered," she stated. "However I feel now our platform has stated to designers who're interested by it, ', I can even have a spot to indicate and truly have my voice be heard.'"

One of the voices heard Saturday is that of Memphian Tiena Gwin, who grew up in Whitehaven and launched her girls's attire style line full-time in 2014. She's participated in the final three years of Memphis Fashion Week however was thrilled to get a name from Henderson.

"If you happen to’re in Memphis, you don’t assume that you would get alternatives like that," Gwin stated.

Seeing Henderson come again to Memphis after her successes and passing on her experience is inspiring, she stated.

"It’s like, if she will be able to do it, I can do it," Gwin stated.

Henderson, who additionally grew up in Whitehaven, graduated from the College of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a level in style merchandising earlier than transferring to Atlanta to try to launch her profession. But it surely wasn't till after just a few years of struggling in momentary jobs that she discovered her residence on the company workplaces of Catherine's Inc. clothes firm in Memphis. 

She credit Memphis, not New York, for her by no means-give up persona that led to her success. Her first style present in her Harlem neighborhood took a number of requests earlier than individuals agreed to take part. 

"I really feel like Memphis offers you want a bit of bit totally different level of grit than different locations do," she stated.

Attain Jennifer Pignolet at jennifer.pignolet@commercialappeal.com or on Twitter @JenPignolet. 


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A 'totally different level of grit' — Fashion agency elevates African-American work in Memphis, New York - The Commercial Appeal