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Brooklyn Fashion Week: More than just stylish clothes

This season’s Fashion Week Brooklyn (FWBK), presented by the BK Style Foundation and run to champion Denim Day NYC, a campaign that encourages people to wear denim in order to raise awareness of rape and sexual assault, kicked off Thursday morning June 25 with a  designer presentation at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

“Through Brooklyn Fashion Week we are going to continue to bring awareness about sexual assault to the forefront,” Councilmember Laurie Cumbo said. “We have to make sure that women are empowered.”

Speeches were given by Cumbo, FWBK Creative Director Rick Davy, FWBK model and survivor of sexual assault Stewella Daville, BK Style representative Iliana Quander, South African Consulate representative Michael Johnson and supporting partners. After the speeches, Sonia Noel, a Caribbean designer, gave a fashion presentation with models showcasing some of her pieces.

FWBK was established in May, 2006 to showcase the collections of emerging and established designers from around the world. It is a full production event geared to market and promote design talent for the spring/summer and fall/winter seasons. FWBK will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year, and will have its spring/summer 2016 event this coming fall.

“Everyone knows that Brooklyn is the fashion capital of the world,” Cumbo said.

The BK Style Foundation (BKSF) was founded in 2004 to cultivate Brooklyn’s creative talent and explosive fashion. Its mission statement is to “bridge the fashion community” by helping emerging, underprivileged designers sharpen their talents and grow their business. BKSF provides rising stars with education and a professional forum to showcase their talent alongside established designers.

“There’s a lot of talent that doesn’t have a pathway or an opportunity just yet,” Quander said.

This year, FWBK partnered up with Denim Day NYC to raise awareness about sexual violence in the community by featuring a collection of denim on the runway. Daville, FWBK model and a survivor of sexual assault, spoke about her childhood experience of being sexually abused by her father.

“For years, I thought how and why did the man I looked up to, the man who was my first love, abuse his daughter,” said Daville as she tried holding back her tears on the podium. “[But] at the end of the day I am a successful career woman. I have family, I have friends, I have supporters.

“We can come together and overcome this horrible situation we’ve all been through,” Daville said.

The event was scheduled to run from June 25 to June 28. The first two days featured a Denim Day NYC fundraiser at the Pacific BK and a Runway Show at Albee Square Plaza at City Point Brooklyn. Shows scheduled for June 27 and June 28 were canceled, according to FWBK’s official website. A spokesperson told this paper that the final two days were canceled due to “rain and other unforeseen circumstances.”

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