Designs by Area High Schoolers Showcased at New York Fashion Week

Their designs were inspired by Afrofuturism as part of the Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan’s Fashion Industry Club.
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Photo by Darren Clark, courtesy of BGCSM and Maison Black

A group of local high school fashion designers left their mark on the glittering catwalks of this year’s New York Fashion Week last month, unveiling designs inspired by the theme, “Afrofuturism,” which celebrates the fusion of African diaspora culture and technology, acting as a showcase for creativity, innovation, and forward-thinking in the realm of fashion.

Under the leadership of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan (BGCSM) Fashion Industry Club and in partnership with Maison Black, a Black-owned, New York-based retailer dedicated to spotlighting Black designers, the students from Detroit had the opportunity to work alongside professionals like Aaron Potts, Patrick Cupid, Dreu Breckemberg, Carlton Jones, Shelley Victory, and Lola Faturoti.

Over the past seven months, these mentors poured their knowledge and experience into nurturing their talents, preparing Nasya D., Zyana H., Lydia M., Logan H., and Ta’Leah H. for the prestigious New York Fashion Week stage.

“Ever since I started with the Boys & Girls Club, I’ve learned so much and gained so many opportunities, so it really is such a blessing,” Loria H. says of the program. She pulled inspiration for her designs from Ghana and the Ashanti tribe.

“Women were a big part of that Ashanti Tribe in Ghana, they hold the most power in that tribe,” Loria explains. “So, I really wanted to tie that into with Black women being powerful and just making a stand because me as a Black young entrepreneur, I have done so many things that really shows the definition of Afrofuturism in itself.”

Interacting with the models, she adds, was the highlight of her design process.

“When I was seeing my piece on the model, it felt like I was dressing up a Barbie,” she laughs. “That was my favorite thing in my childhood, so I felt I could do this all day.”

But creating their pieces was only one challenge for the club’s participants. The other was to juggle the program with their other responsibilities.

“The largest challenge for them was balancing this program with schoolwork,” Alise Dixon, the chief program officers of BGCSM says. “These are all young ladies that are in high school, so balancing the commitment to this program, this wasn’t easy. They can tell you that there was still homework to do, virtual calls, in-person meeting, on top of their schoolwork.”

The Fashion Industry Club is a part of BGCSM’s Industry Club model, launched in 2020 to equip young people for successful futures across various industries. Similarly, the Maison Black Foundation (MBF) champions and equips the future generation of Black creatives, offering them pathways and educational platforms to discover their talents and pursue their passions.

The collaboration between the two is more than just a runway show. It’s a testament to the power of mentorship, opportunity, and the shared vision of empowering Black youth in the arts. Maison Black’s founder, Tori Nichel, a Detroit native herself, has been instrumental in creating this bridge for Black designers to shine on a global stage.

“As we near the culmination of our mentorship program’s second season in partnership with BGCSM, we’re proud to have helped establish a program that develops aspiring youth designer’s skills and provide true real time experience on what it takes to be a successful fashion designer in this industry,” Nichel said in a press release.

The NYFW Afrofuturism Collection is available for purchase at maisonblack.shop. Visit hourdetroit.com for more metro Detroit fashion news and stories.