Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Where Brooklyn At? Fashion Week Brooklyn Highlights Hip-Hop Culture, Sustainability and the Metaverse

Designers, creatives and community institutions collaborate in a week-long celebration of fashion across the borough.

 "Where Brooklyn At?" the rapper Notorious B.I.G once asked. Now, the call and response used to check if someone from the borough is in the building takes on new meaning as the theme for Season 1 of this year's Fashion Week Brooklyn.

The event will showcase a diverse array of fashion designers pioneering technology and sustainability, and celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop and the fashion revolution that came with it. 

The event runs April 9-15, and features a children’s fashion show, film screening, a Web3 digital fashion show and a hip-hop anniversary fashion celebration in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

This mashup of fashion shows, cultural events and virtual experiences is the brainchild of stylist Rick Davy, who started the non-profit BK Style Foundation in 2006 to put on the twice-yearly fashion week in Brooklyn and support underserved designers.  

He sold his condo to jump-start the non-profit in 2006 and has been self-funding his vision of a diverse community of designers, creatives and models ever since.

Fashion Week Brooklyn is the foundation’s signature event to showcase creative talent and highlight the need for diversity, accessibility and sustainability in fashion.

“Brooklyn is such a hotbed for fashion,” Davy said. "We’re not following the others. 

“We’re also celebrating 50 years of hip-hop fashion and culture so it’s only right we represent. Where Brooklyn at?”

Rick Davy. Photo: Provided/Fashion Week BK.

The Trinidadian creative started his styling career in television production. Working on BET’s "106 & Park" — a hip-hop and R&B music video show — gave him the idea to create a space that would highlight unique street styles and provide visibility to diverse designers.

“I look at some of the larger fashion weeks and I can see the influence of those young Black and Brown designers.”

“The mainstream industry often takes from them; that’s where we come in. We won’t cherry-pick from our talent. Instead, we lend credibility to their work.”

“We’ve been global, inclusive and sustainable before it became trendy,” Davy said. “Our show features modest fashion brands, highlights LGBTQ+ designers and has booked models of all shapes, sizes and identities for almost two decades now.” 

Sustainability in the fashion industry is more important than ever, Davy said.

The fashion industry consumes the second-most water globally and is responsible for approximately 10% of global carbon emissions, according to a report from the United Nations. The report also found that the amount of water used in fashion production is more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. 

Flyer. Photo: Provided/Fashion Week BK.

Digital fashion is now a big part of that push for sustainability in Fashion Week Brooklyn, Davy said. This year, designers specializing in digital-only work like Tsadok Zannou, Ecoolska Olska Green and Right Direction will showcase their non-fungible designs at the event. 

On April 10, Krwn Studio and Adriana Illustration will discuss the intersection of digital and physical fashion at a panel hosted on Fashion Week Brooklyn's Instagram Live, which viewers can access via the Story function. 

Davy, who is also the three-time co-producer of Sustainable Fashion Week US, said that minimizing the carbon footprint has always been a focus in his work. 

“We didn’t call it sustainable fashion back then, we called it eco-friendly and most of our designers were already upcycling and creating items from used materials,” Davy said. He said part of the emphasis on sustainability stemmed from necessity, since many designers lacked access to new materials and sewing machines. 

Davy, a board member for Materials For The Arts, also launched a program called Stitch For Success which donates sewing machines and materials to emerging designers in need. Some of their work is set to debut on the runway of this year’s Fashion Week BK event. 

“We can help sustain the authenticity of these brands and champion our young Black and Brown designers,” he said. “They are the future.” 

Model walks runway in an outfit from the Cult Luxury collection at COPE NYC on October 15, 2022 during Fashion Week Brooklyn Season #2 2022. Photo: Provided/Fashion Week BK.

This year’s show features designs from Black Girls Sew, Krwn Studio, Damaged Goods and Thread Haus Co. Thursday’s Hip Hop Fashion 50 show is a tribute to the culture and the fashion trends that shaped it. The collaboration with Brooklyn Navy Yard will feature iconic looks by Karl Kani, Starter, Hip Hop Closet and Voodofe.

“So much has changed from when we first started,” Davy said. “There wasn’t even a Barclays Center back then!”

Davy said his community of designers and supporters has also grown dramatically, cementing Brooklyn as the next fashion destination. 

“Manhattan has the beat but Brooklyn is the vibe.” He said. “We own fashion!”

The full schedule of events, locations, designers and registration can be found on the Brooklyn Fashion Week website.

Natasha Knows

About the Author: Natasha Knows

Natasha “Knows” is the CEO and founder of Natasha Knows, LLC a small business consulting company.
Read more