When based in the American Fashion Capital, producing a show that will have an impact seems almost unimaginable. During each season’s Fashion Week, targeting the fashion industry requires overcoming the challenge to impress insiders with an over-the-top event to top the top. Even an effort to target consumers presents a challenge in New York City, where the jaded buyers have seen it all, and making an impression that leads to business success can typically be found in only one of two ways: be among the best of the best, or make fashion personal.
The 2017 Master Pioneer Award show presents an opportunity for talented designers to connect with the audience who is moved to decision by the personal. “The Master Pioneer Award pays tribute to individuals who have laid the foundation and established themselves as ‘The Pioneers, Leaders and Forerunners’ of the multibillion dollar industry of Natural Hair, Health & Beauty,’ says event founder Anita Hill-Moses.
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The theme of this year’s all-male fashion show is “Acknowledging our Roots: Honoring our Hairitage,” seeking an audience whose social, cultural and business interests are also personal. Fashions from designers Next Level World, Hood Dandy and Yemi Kosibah, will be featured at this biannual fundraising event founded by Anita Hill-Moses. The Master Pioneer Award takes place at the Brooklyn Music School on September 30 from 6-10 PM. Tickets and sponsorship information are available at MasterPioneers.com.
The natural hair industry, and related Afro-centric fashion in all its versions, is booming. Market research company, Mintel, reported at the end of 2015 that spending on styling products overall reached $946 million, while spending on relaxers dropped by 18%. National distributor, Glenn Corporation, summarized the trend toward natural hair on their website, stating “The power of individualism in the growing space of multicultural beauty has led to a shift in beauty ideals where men and women are embracing their cultural identities and expressing themselves through fashion statements where curls and afros become the center of attention.”
Produced and directed by fashion expert and lifestyle aficionado, Tyrone Farley of True Fashionista Now, this year’s Master Pioneer Award aims to honor those industry forerunners who have forged a path in the beauty and fashion industry. Mr. Farley, a global influencer on fashion and style, who has frequently appeared on HuffPost Live, PIX 11 News in New York and China Global Television Network, is also a Master Pioneer Award 2017 Honoree. He and the other honorees are being recognized for continuing to drive the fashion industry forward as the demand for products and services among consumers who have gone natural continues to expand.
Mr. Farley’s vision is to reflect the social motivators that are directing modern fashion, driven by a generation of young black men who resist conformity and defy identity politics in the face of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. They project an image of pride and confidence in who they are becoming and the recognition of the influence they have on the global culture, starting with their hair. “It is important to pay it forward by giving back to the community,” says Farley. “I love fashion and the platform for creativity, and this is my way of giving back while bringing awareness of the importance of African American’s cultural contribution to fashion.”
As Mr. Farley works with designers to present looks that showcase the range of identities that are emerging to represent men’s fashion, this year’s Master Pioneer Award certainly highlights the individualism and beauty ideals of the modern black man, as well as the power and influence on business and culture. Neither the industry nor consumers can ignore them.
By Tresa Chambers