Diasporic fashion hits Brooklyn’s runway

In motion: Dancers from the New Waves Dance Company and Youth Development perform at the “Runway from the Coast” fashion show in East New York on March 31.
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A sense of Diasporic fashion.

More than a hundred people turned out for the “Runway from the Coast,” fashion show at the YSL Center in East New York on March 31. The show was a chance for people to see and experience various aspects and cultures of the African Diaspora — from the continent to the Caribbean. And the show, which aimed to showcase the likeness of these cultures, was a hit, said the organizer.

“I really focused on showing the connection in African and Caribbean cultures, and it was a really good show,” said Shinese Brathwaite.

She says the perfectly timed show coincided with the ongoing hype of the blockbuster film “Black Panther,” which peaked more Diasporic interest in Africa. And it was an opportune time to show the semblance in black cultures despite a common disconnect, said Brathwaite.

“We always separate ourselves but we have so many similarities — all of our stories are similar and sometimes the only difference is where we were dropped off,” she added.

Models Merlyn Oliver and Lauren Riley of BK Fashion Maven sporting Nigerian ankara designs by Arewa NYC at the show.
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The day-long event kicked off with a pop-up shop for vendors offering guests a chance to explore Caribbean and African businesses, and members of the New Waves Dance Company performed a dance piece, according to Brathwaite.

For the fashion segment, nine models took the runway displaying Nigerian Ankara designs created by ArewaNYC.

Brathwaite says a show like this holds a lot of significance to her because her goal is to educate people of African descent, and make them aware of their lineage.

“It’s very important to me because in doing a lot of research, I found out that even though I was born in Guyana — my great grandparents came from Barbados,” she said. “I felt that I needed to have this event because I love culture and history, especially our culture and our history.”

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.
Founder of BK Girls Night Out and organizer of the fashion show, Shinese Braithwaite.
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