Harlem’s Fashion Row, an organization that provides a platform and resources for underrepresented Black and Latinx designers, is stepping up its response to the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, it announced a new initiative called Icon360, which will provide forgivable relief to designers of color who are pivoting their businesses during the pandemic and need funding to scale.
“During this crisis, I thought it was critical to do everything in our power to support designers of color,” says Brandice Daniel, Harlem’s Fashion Row founder. “I’m incredibly inspired by the resilience of designers who are making bold pivots in their business. As a fashion community we have an incredible opportunity to help scale the businesses of designers who are thriving even in the middle of a pandemic.”
Icon360 will kick off with a “virtual fundraiser” event on May 30 to raise funds for grants that will be awarded to designers of color. Eligible candidates can apply for grants beginning June 15. Among the list of speakers for the digital event are designers Tracy Reese and Christopher John Rogers, stylist Kesha McLeod, and writer Tamu McPherson. The organization is pledging 100% of ticket sales toward funding Icon360 grants.
In the past, Harlem’s Fashion Row has organized runway shows and others events to celebrate up-and-coming talent within the industry. Last year, it hosted an exhibition to commemorate Ruth E. Carter, who was the first Black person to take home an Oscar for Best Costume Design. Another major moment for Harlem’s Fashion Row came when it launched a partnership with Nike and Lebron James, where the organization helped identify women who could design James’ debut women’s sneaker, the HFR x LeBron 16.
To view the full schedule for the fundraiser, purchase tickets, or apply for the grant, visit the official Icon360 website.