A male model calmly walked on the floor in a summer outfit with a light blue bucket hat and gray T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Lafayette and Grand.”
One woman strutted effortlessly in high heels wearing a long, yellow see-through outfit.
These are just a few of the apparel created by Black fashion designers showcased at a fashion show Sunday, June 12 at the Café Crystal by Faith2Felicity at National Harbor.
The intimate setting inside the Faith2Felicity jewelry store also celebrated Juneteenth one week early. The federal holiday on Sunday, June 19 recognizes the emancipation of enslaved Blacks in the U.S.
“We have a whole generation of kids that need that type of encouragement. One, to show that Black people can come together and support each other,” said Toni Tomlin, owner of Faith2Felicity and who turned 50 the day after her business opened in October. “Just to be able to celebrate in a way that upholds the legacy that our ancestors would want us to show every day.”
The show entitled “Fashion En Noir” and presented by Insight Financial Consulting Firm, not only paid homage to Black creativity but also supported Black entrepreneurs in the fashion industry.
The firm’s president, Chantrell McCormick, offered a simple message: “Buy Black. Shop Black.”
The dozens of people in attendance, mostly wearing black, viewed unique attire, jewelry and other designs.
Consuela Wintz, of Upper Marlboro and owner of “House of Delilah,” described some of her work – the kind rarely seen.
One of her designs featured a large hat attached with a veil covering the face that stretched down to the waist.
Wintz graduated from Howard University in Northwest last month with a bachelor’s degree in fashion design. She sat in the same row as actor Anthony Anderson, who received a bachelor’s in fine arts from the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts.
“I was also a returning student who came back to finish what I started,” said Wintz, whose husband, their children and her parents attended the show.
“I love fashion and what it brings to our culture. Having this event at a place like National Harbor shows that fashion and art [have got it] going on,” she said.
Jarrell Greene, another Howard University alum who graduated in 2003, designs men’s and women’s apparel for “Lafayette and Grand,” named after a street intersection in his native Brooklyn, New York. Greene, who launched his company in spring 2021, describes his attire “as a classic American look with a Black swag . . .”
“I remember when I was young, I’ve always been big on Black businesses first,” said Greene, who’s also a professional DJ. “Whenever there are opportunities where I need to get something like clothes, go eat somewhere or go stay at a hotel [and] there is a Black business and it is in the parameters of what I want to accomplish, I go there.”
Some of the other Black designers include Tina Roper, owner of the Urban Freshery who presented a concept collection in honor of Black designer Ann Lowe. Lowe, who died in 1981, designed the 1953 wedding dress for Jacqueline Bouvier who would later marry John F. Kennedy.
Several people in the audience hoisted their cell phones to take pictures and record parts of the show. They also clapped and cheered with appreciation for the models and Black designers.
“I love to see Black people doing good things and people coming out to support them,” said Zaneta Rias of Anne Arundel County, Maryland. “I came with my girlfriend who’s an entrepreneur and has a connection with Howard alum. I’m really having a good time. I’m glad I came out.”