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Showing Out: Fashion in Harlem

Source: Photo by and in the private collection of Beau McCall / Photo by and in the private collection of Beau McCall

There is no street style without Harlem. A new exhibit details the iconic neighborhood’s contribution to American style and more.

As spotted on Cool Hunting the upper Manhattan area is about to get some long-overdue credit. Lois K Alexander Lane (1916 – 2007) was a fashion designer and Harlem resident. In 1979 she founded the Black Fashion Museum as a hub to showcase the countless contributions by individuals of color to the fashion industry. During her early years she struggled to acquire pieces for the collection. Since then the institution would go on to house over 2,000 garments that were designed, fabricated or worn by African-Americans to tell the story of women and men of the African diaspora.

Showing Out: Fashion in Harlem is a pop-up exhibition in celebration of the 55th anniversary of the Harlem Institute of Fashion. The exhibition is curated and co-presented by Souleo and features archival images, papers, and video from the collections of Queen Bilquis a.k.a. Cynthia Harmon, Tuesday P. Brooks, Beau McCall, Hakim Mutlaq, Cedric Jose Washington, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Schomburg Center. Plus, costumes by Carolyn Adams, Queen Bilquis, Beau McCall, and Moshood. And a specially commissioned new media work by Dianne Smith including video footage by Kerwin DeVonish.

Showing Out: Fashion in Harlem spotlights HIF’s fashion shows through archival images, papers, and video; costumes; and a specially commissioned new media work. Thereby, celebrating the organization’s efforts to amplify the contributions of Black people in fashion and to democratize the industry. The exhibition arrives when the topic of equity for Black people in fashion has received increased attention during the Black Lives Matter movement. Presenty, there are numerous calls-to-action to foster a more inclusive industry and support Black creatives in the fashion world. While some progress is being made, there is still a long catwalk ahead of us. By foregrounding the legacy of HIF, the exhibition honors the underrepresented trailblazers who were “showing out” decades ago–both on and off the runway–in the ongoing fight to advance social justice in fashion.

You can register for tickets here.


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