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Master Pioneer Award 2017 Menswear Show #MPAwards17

Hood Dandy Finale

When based in the American Fashion Capital, producing a show that will have an impact seems almost unimaginable.  When targeting the fashion industry, the challenge to impress requires planning an over-the top event to top the top.  When targeting consumers, New York City’s jaded buyers have seen it all, and making an impression that leads to business success can typically be found in one of two ways: be among the best of the best, or make fashion personal.

The 2017 Master Pioneer Award took place at the Brooklyn Music School on September 30, presented an opportunity to connect with the audience who is moved to decision by the personal.  The theme of this year’s all-male fashion show was 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, was featured at this biannual fundraising event founded by Anita Hill-Moses.  The show opened with an instrumental version of the  black national anthem, ‘Lift Every Voice’ as a homage to African Americans who continue to protest & resist conformity starting with their hair.
![Tyrone Farley; 2017 Master Pioneer Award Honoree & Show Producer/DirectorTyrone Farley; 2017 Master Pioneer Award Honoree & Show Producer/Director
Produced and directed by fashion expert and lifestyle aficionado, Tyrone Farley of True Fashionista Now. (www.truefashionistanow.com), this year’s Master Pioneer Award aimed to honor those industry forerunners who have forged a path in the beauty and fashion industry based on the demand for products and services among the growing base of consumers who have gone natural.  Mr. Farley, who’s gained his fashion credibility after several appearances on HuffPost Live, PIX 11 News and China Global Television Network is also a Master Pioneer Award 2017 Honoree at this year’s event, for his contribution to fashion and style.  The social motivators include 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. 
Black Lives Matter
The show recognized the lives that were lost during halfway of the show, with a 30 seconds of silence for Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, among others, who all wore natural hair.
 It is important to pay it forward by giving back to the community. 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.” Tyrone Farley
2017 Master Pioneer Award Honorees; L-R, Susan Peterkin-Bishop, Tywanna Patrick, Tenee Smiley-Amico, Tyrone Farley.2017 Master Pioneer Award Honorees; L-R, Susan Peterkin-Bishop, Tywanna Patrick, Tenee Smiley-Amico, Tyrone Farley.
This social consciousness is buttressed by the cultural impact of professional athletes with their showy styles and global following, although there are some mixed views about the appropriateness of the images projected to the world.  A critique by retired NBA player, Charles Barkley, highlights the conflicting perspectives.  In the last basketball season, during a nationally televised game, Barkley set off a storm criticism across black media channels when he chose to comment on player Derrick Rose’s natural style. I don’t like nappy hair,” said Barkley.  He needs to relax it.” 
Despite such attitudes, 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.”
 This year’s Master Pioneer Award fashion statement certainly highlight the individualism and beauty ideals of the modern man, as well as the power and influence on business and culture, as designers present looks that represent the range of identities that are emerging as representative of black men.  Neither the industry nor consumers can ignore them.
Here are the two collections that were shown at the 2017 Master Pioneer Award:

The Next Level World Collection
Next Level World Finale

The 2017 Master Pioneer Award menswear show opened with the Next Level World Collection. The collection demonstrates the merger of high fashion with creative natural hair styles in black males. Extending back to prehistoric era we have evidence that hair is the most essential and original fashion statement we humans possess. Even before we had the ability to assemble animal hides into clothing, primitive people ornamented their hair.

The integration of hair styles with elegant clothing has been a trend for the past 3000 years.  This is especially true for the African continent, where the inhabitants cultivated hairstyles extending 100,000 years back. The emergence of personal style often included the use of natural hair. Nevertheless in the modern era, we, as proud black people, have spent far too long hiding behind our unnatural hair. Like the chains originally clasped to our feet, our straightened, and ironed hair has become the shackles to our beauty and our culture, preventing us from showing our true identity.

Clothing has always however, been a great tool for artistic and cultural expression amongst the African people and their descendants.  It is through our established and ever-changing cultural identities (EGO) that fashion is created and disseminated in our communities.  It is from this identity of self, this ego, from which we project our image, our culture, and our perceptions, in the form of fashion, and discover our true self hidden within.

“In this show, we want to look back in time, and bring forward the creative strength of our ancestors to fabricate new and bold looks,” says designer Derrick Grant. “We adopted the ancient powerful styles from Egypt and Ethiopia to create bold statements that reach back to this primordial strength from the past. In addition to obtaining our fashion inspiration from our African heritage, we also combine the style of our garments with the structure of Tudor fashion (the conquering Renaissance voyagers of 1500-1600) to produce a new style.  In effect, the show is a modern-day attempt to reclaim the dignity of those early African cultures by appropriation of European colonialist style in combination with African clothing. Thus these garments help us to regain strength through-creative reconstruction; i.e., reparation of our cultural-identity by reversing the historical superpower-roles of the Europeans. Thereby, we not only rediscover our identity and our past through our hairstyles, but with the use of new fashion, we are also establishing our future empowerment.  Thus, metaphorically we are overcoming our constant struggle as black Americans, by destroying the post-colonial cultural-ego placed on us by the creation of new conceptual fashion that embodies our ancestral heritage in a novel way.”

Next Level World Finale

![Male models of the Next Level World Collection with designer Derrick Grant & Show Producer/Director; Tyrone Farley(Center).Male models of the Next Level World Collection with designer Derrick Grant & Show Producer/Director; Tyrone Farley(Center).

The Hood Dandy Collection

Hood Dandy Finale

The Hood Dandy Collection was created by Katiuscia Gregoire, a  designer and visual artist whose work examines theme such as gendered roles in society. She challenges representation of gender, sexuality and design manifestations through her creations. She aims to provide provocative counters to stereotypical representations and physical objectifications of such identities.

Gregoire utilizes design, specifically through various textile development and explorations, to represent the unrepresented. Using bold textile motifs and knitwear, she aims to create for a multi-faceted subject for who the  constraints of social and gendered expectations are circumvented. The fashion mark created by Katiuscia aids in achieving a passage of awareness and being the path to a more socially-conscious worldview. She holds a BFA in Fashion Design as a Graduate of Parsons School of Design.

Hood Dandy

Hood Dandy Finale

Hood Dandy Finale ModelsMale models of the Hood Dandy Collection with designer Katiuscia Gregoire & Show Producer/Director; Tyrone Farley(Center).

Yemi Kosibah Bridal Couture

Kosibah Bridal Couture

The bridal finale at the Master Pioneer Award 2017 show was provided by Yemi Osunkoya, the designer behind the KOSIBAH label available for consultations/fittings by appointment in London or on scheduled visits to Lagos, Abuja and the East and West coasts of USA.  He established the Kosibah label in London in 1991 and named the company in honour of his mother. The name Cosiba comes from the Republic of Benin and is the day name of a female child born on a Sunday.  The team at Kosibah is committed to providing exceptional quality of service and meticulous attention to detail. The designs, made from individual body measurements, use luxurious fabrics, sumptuous embellishments and couture techniques. It appeals to discerning clients who are accustomed to luxury products of the highest standards. Truly a global brand, but the clientele is particularly well represented in the UK, West and South Africa, USA and the Caribbean.

Kosibah Bridal CoutureDesigner Yemi Osunkoya with a Kosibah Bridal Couture gown and 2017 Master Pioneer Honoree, Tyrone Farley(Show Producer/Director).

Photos Credit: Yendie Lynch



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