2023 Fashion Maverick: Harlem’s Fashion Row

A discussion with Brandice Daniel, CEO and Founder

Founder and CEO of Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR) and ICON360, Brandice Daniel created HFR in 2007 to bridge the gap between multicultural designers and the fashion business by providing opportunities to showcase their skills and abilities in an industry that is often non-accessible to them through fashion shows and other events. Brandice has led collaborations, while creating opportunities for designers, with brands like Banana Republic, Janie and Jack, American Girl, and the most historic, Nike and Lebron James.

In her own words...

We often talk about “disruption” in the fashion industry. What does that word mean to you?

When I think of the word disruption in reference to the fashion industry. I feel it is our responsibility as thought leaders to help Black and Latinx designers break the traditional structures, systems, and norms within the fashion industry that have excluded and marginalized designers from these communities. Disruption in this context aims to create opportunities for designers from these communities to showcase their work, receive recognition, and equal representation in the fashion industry. The goal is to create a more inclusive and diverse fashion industry that represents and celebrates all designers, regardless of their race or ethnicity.

What does 2023 look like in terms of goals to ensure that designers of color are Seen, Heard, and Supported?

This year our focus is connecting consumers to designers of color. Our goal is to accomplish this by televising our September NYFW show and expanding our affiliate website, HFR & Co (www.hfrandco.com) featuring Black and Brown Designers sold in Macy’s, Nordstrom, Shopbop, and Bloomingdales. 

This year, HFR also produced its inaugural volume of Fashion In Color, a coffee table book highlighting the stories of Black designers. Olivier Rousting graciously wrote the foreword. The book is also dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop. Fashion In Color will be released in February, just in time for Black History Month. 

How are your corporate partnerships taking HFR to its next goal?

Our partnerships with brands such as LVMH, Tommy Hilfiger, Tiffany & Co, Levi, Gap Inc, and Tapestry, to name a few, help elevate design talent of color via access to new resources, expertise, and markets.

Corporate partnerships have also helped widen the path for future talent through HFR's nonprofit, ICON360, where we provide funding and professional development opportunities to HBCU fashion departments and students. By working together, HFR and its corporate partners drive progress, innovation, and growth to take HFR to the next level and achieve its long-term goals for designers of color.

Resetting and re-defining are themes that have gained prominence as a result of COVID. How have these past three years impacted HRF’s outlook?

We realize that there is a new consumer who is eager to shop Black brands. 

According to a Morning Consult survey commissioned by Bloomberg, "Over a quarter of Black Americans say they purchase from Black-owned brands frequently…For Black people under 35, that share jumps to 40%" Our goal is to capture this consumer and connect them with brands supporting designers of color through our new HFR & Co platform.

What musical lyric or quote inspires you on a tough day?

I will survive by Gloria Gaynor.

Read her extended bio (and fellow 2023 American Image Awards honoree bios too!). Share our exclusive conversation on social with #AmericanImageAwards:


Join us as she accepts her award April 25!

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