The woman blazing the way for multicultural fashion designers.
If something is your purpose you rise to be the challenge.
Fierce, vibrant, and always true to herself, BRANDICE DANIEL is gracefully infusing those near and far into her light so that they can shine too. As the CEO and Founder of Harlem’s Fashion Row – a platform highlighting the talents of multicultural designers in fashion – Brandice Daniel has worked tirelessly to propel a multitude of designer’s careers into the unimaginable! Her unwavering work ethic paved the way for a collaborative project between HFR’s three leading black female designers, basketball star LeBron James, and Nike. She is a testament that anything is possible.
You’ve championed for a much-needed conversation about the lack of representation for multicultural designers in the fashion industry. Take us back to the beginning of HFR.
In 2005, I moved to New York because I knew I was supposed to be here. I originally thought I would be working for a luxury brand, but I could not get one luxury brand to call or email me back. So, I found a boutique in Harlem owned by B. Yama that I absolutely loved, and I asked if I could work in his boutique without receiving pay. I was totally okay with that! The opportunity allowed me to build a fantastic relationship with B. Yama, but it also helped me learn that owning a boutique wasn’t for me. I think if I didn’t have that experience, HFR wouldn’t exist.
Walk me through the process of working with such strong, independent and driven designers to create the HFR X LEBRON 16 shoe.
It was so cool the first time we went into the Nike offices! We met with Lebron James’ entire team. As the designers and I were preparing to go into the meeting, I said, “We are not walking in here to give them a bunch of fluff. They have to hear our authentic stories. We can’t go in here and pretend to be someone we’re not.” So, that was what we did. I opened the conversation by telling the story behind HFR. I told them my why and how every sacrifice had been worth it –each designer did the same. I could tell they felt us, and that was most important for me. In exchange, we got to hear their stories, which were just incredible. LeBron James Nike Brand manager Lynn Merritt told his story first, which was profoundly moving! After it was all said and done, we felt an invaluable sense of connectedness through our stories.
After the meeting was over, we went into the design studio. We created a vision board with the inspirations for the shoe, which were the four words LeBron James used to describe his mother – loyalty, strength, dignity, and courage. Those four words unified the foundation of the shoe.
You selected three female designers to infuse their individual ideas and styles to collaborate with Nike for the HFR x Lebron 16 sneaker. I’m almost positive you knew the opportunity would shift the culture forward.
I didn’t know it would leave such a huge footprint on the culture as it did. But I knew the moment I talked to Nike’s executive on the phone it was about to be something really special – I had butterflies! At the time, we hadn’t confirmed anything. They were only supposed to pick one designer. But, I knew the three designers, Felisha Noel, Kimberly Goldstein, and Undra Celeste Duncan would be a triple threat. Nike had solicited me to send the designers websites. I sent them over a full deck with a biography of each designer, and why I personally selected them for the project. They came back and said, “We couldn’t pick just one. We have to pick all three.” That was like the best news ever for me! I strongly felt that each of the designers exuded strength, which I knew would be the foundation for the shoe.
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