Fashion: Chevrolet And Essence Showcased Black Designers

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A Chevrolet pre-event media dinner Saturday, September 12, 2015 leading up to a New York Fashion Week event teaming up Chevrolet with ESSENCE magazine featuring two up-and-coming African American designers - Charlene Dunbar and Ashley Ryles - who presented a capsule collection inspired by the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze. Photo: Raymond Hagans/PictureGroup for Chevrolet


The annual New York Fashion Week (NYFW) every summer is primarily an  exclusive  upper Manhattan event  renown for  showcasing trends  price-tagged  with  the celebrity fashionista and privileged  socialite in mind. 

However, Essence magazine  known  for a  sensibility reflective  of a  finger constantly  on the  pulse of the  African-American community,  seized  this moment for yet another year  to host an inclusive all-day  shindig – the   Essence Street Style Block Party (ESS) in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn.

In a thumbs-up gesture Chevrolet   teamed up with Essence   to elevate the talent of up- and -coming African American designers.  Chevy’s On-the –Rise designers   Charlene Dunbar and Ashley Ryles were chosen to create a capsule collection inspired by the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze.  Ron Bass, a Chevy Chic alumnus and mentor came back to help Charlene and Ashley bring their Cruze inspired visions to life, which were revealed on-stage at the recent event.

Appearances by actress Gabriel Union, Essence’s “Closet Crush” Award honoree and singer Ciara, “Curator of Style” honoree added just that right amount of celebrity glitz to the event. The ‘block’ featured local vendors and designers via the ‘Street Style Shops’; ‘Essence Eats’, a curated local food truck experience; and an interactive Kids Zone. DJ Olivia Dope and Tiff McFierce music mash-up was the soundtrack to a continuous parade of style -savvy folks  dressed in an eclectic explosion of awe-inspiring fashion- a display befitting of the label ‘creativity on steroids’. The tunnel created by DUMBO’s Manhattan Bridge Archway   is domelike and majestic; a space that enveloped the audience in an atmosphere of intimacy wherein rising R&B artist Andra Day sang her heart out to a thrilled audience.

Essence Live host Dana Blair and singer-TV personality Mel B co-hosted the ‘Street Stye’ fashion show which featured local fashionistas strutting on the stage and catwalk with that unique ethno-cultural flair.

“Our Street Style Block Party clearly resonates with women as a manifestation of our desire to own our unique style and beauty, and to see this uniqueness celebrated,” said ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Vanessa K. De Luca. “And, recognizing the inspiring talent of this year’s Street Style Award honorees-- Ciara, Gabrielle Union, Charles Harbison and Jason Rembert—powerfully celebrates diversity and self-expression during New York Fashion Week.”It was n extravaganza worthy of an encore.


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