Remember that “Ghetto Until Proven Fashionable” sweatshirt that went viral last year? The famous sweatshirt—which appropriately sums up cultural appropriation—was created by designer and Fashion Activist Nareasha Willis. Back in March, street-style photographer Phil Oh captured stylist Melody Trend wearing the sweatshirt and it was unavoidable once it hit social media. The item sold out immediately after gaining momentum amongst black communities and creatives.
Fast forward a year later AVNU, Nareasha’s brand is congregating the culture once again. AVNU hosted the celebration and fundraiser titled “For the Culture” on Saturday, September 7. Fashion lovers gathered at the Delancey in East Village to celebrate black culture and its influence on the fashion industry—a narrative black and brown folks have traditionally been excluded from. The sunlit rooftop was the perfect venue to conclude summer and kick off New York Fashion Week. “This event is not only a celebration of our presence and influence in fashion but a moment to unify against racism and cultural appropriation in the industry”
The event was enhanced by black female creatives like designer Brittany Symone who illustrated live portraits of guests. Classical violinist, Priya DeBerry effortlessly serenaded us with her skills. DJ Selekta Sexxx curated the energy in the room playing everything from throwback Mariah Carey to Cardi B.
When asked what bought them to the event that day, one fashion photographer—who only shoots black women—intended to find more muses for her upcoming projects. Some partygoers simply wanted to be aligned with more creatives and others craved to witness the fashion ensembles the event would bring. Black girl—and black boy—magic was in full effect. Guests got in formation; some even created their own designs for the event. While style was a major crowd-drawer, others aimed to support the movement and help raise funds or Nareasha’s ongoing lawsuit with Conde Nast for using the term “Black Vouge.” Nareasha spoke passionately about why curating events like these are so important to her “We are the culture we create the trends and are excluded from so many events and opportunities. This is something that I am dedicated to. I will constantly create spaces for my people, for the culture.”
All images by Terrence Doctor | All White Tux