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A strong look from the Chike Mordi show

Brooklyn Fashion Weekend might have been rough around the edges, but it provided valuable exposure to the designers, models, and other industry people who otherwise wouldn’t have an opportunity to show. New York fashion can be an ocean with a lot of big fish, but Brooklyn Fashion Weekend made it into a much more manageable pond.

The strength of Brooklyn Fashion Weekend lay in its ability to showcase minority talent. Inspiration abounded from every corner of the planet, but the strongest designs had their roots in Africa. Chike Mordi hails from Nigeria and put together a beautiful collection of traditional african prints interwoven with leathers and pallettes. The best pieces drew inspiration from batik patterns, such as a jumper onesie in an orange/zebra pattern, a cute shift dress with a pressed-white Peter Pan collar, and a perfectly tailored gown with a mermaid hemline and peplum detail. The weakest looks included a tight leather gown and poofy white dress, which didn’t tie back to the core of the collection and lacked the designer’s sense of design through print and volume.

It was incredibly refreshing to see a scene of people without snobbery or pretention, simply there to take everything in. When I asked the organizer if I could step backstage, she just pointed to the end of the runway and ushered me through without any questions or hesitation. It was a scene of flirtation back there, as the girls waited in their gowns and the the boys waited largely topless, each wanting their chance to walk down the runway. Regardless of sex, everyone had their phones out, posing for their friends’ pictures and admiring the results. Unlike New York Fashion Week, most of the models were black, a refreshing change from the whitewashed world of fashion.

Brooklyn Fashion Weekend’s casualness made it accessible and endearing, but I also think that the designers would be well served by a better organized event. The posted schedule listed designers in the wrong order and the evening ran several hours behind. But I hope that going forward they can make these changes without sacrificing the youth and energy of the organization. Definitely catch next season’s event at

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Backstage at Brooklyn Fashion Week
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A onesie that plays with pattern
A dress that shows off Chike Mordi’s tailoring skills
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A pretty shift dress from the collection shot backstage
A group strikes a pose