NEW YORK (PIX11) — For five young Black men from Detroit — all of them designers — you can imagine the excitement of seeing the bright lights of New York City and having their designs featured in LVMH headquarters. Organizers had one clear intention: to change the trajectory of their career.
It was on a mild Tuesday night that New York Fashion Week got off to a promising and inclusive start on the catwalk inside one of the world’s largest and most influential luxury conglomerates.
In fact, there was a time not too long ago when it would have been inconceivable for five young Black designers to headline their own fashion show inside LVMH headquarters.
It’s a new day, and Trent Garcon, Robert Armán Robinson, Langston Howard, Carlos Pearson and Shawn Woodward say they are ready for it. The budding stars have all been working hard over the last few years, mentored by established fashion industry power players.
“We’ve heard countless times about how hard it is to get into New York Fashion Week, especially just being inside the LVMH building,” said Howard.
This effort is the brainchild of show co-sponsor Tori Nichel, founder and chief creative officer of online retailer Maison Black.
Maison Black worked with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan to spend less time on traditional teen activities and focus on career development.
“They need to know we believe in them. I started my fashion career when I was 16 because someone bet on me. And someone trained me until I was a junior in college and gave me the confidence and platform to know that I could make it in New York. So just imagine the trajectory we just set these young Black men up,” said Nichel.
For Corey Smith, head of diversity, equity, and inclusion for LVMH North America, hosting the show was a no brainer.
“It is about creating the access, the development, the mental opportunities, the options, the networking, the mentorship for everyone. And that includes upcoming designers, upcoming talent of color,” said Smith.
The five young designers — all under the age of 20 — are now heading back to their native Detroit as known commodities, with an invaluable experience and with a future as bright as their designs.