By Marcus Gregory Blassingame
Famous for so many people and moments (Will Smith, The Eagles, Rocky/Creed and besides Gino’s steaks the city’s excellent history museums (Museum of the American Revolution, Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, the African American Museum) has become a foundational fashion hub in the United States. Thanks to founding members of the CFDA Connects Program, Kevin Parker & Kerry Scott, creatives outside of the central Manhattan (Fashion Capitol) have a legible platform right in the heart of their own community.
In February 2020, The Philadelphia Fashion & Garment Industry Task Force (PFGITF) was inspired by Kevin Parker, and Kerry Scott with the cooperation of Councilman David Oh and curated by the body of City Council. PFGITF is made up of a diverse group of individuals and businesses professionals that have extensive experience and hands-on insight into the fashion and garment industry.
The PFGITF aims to promote and support the growth of the fashion and garment industry in Philadelphia through various initiatives. One of the key areas of focus for the task force is sustainability, as they believe that the industry has a responsibility to minimize its impact on the environment. The task force also aims to create opportunities for local manufacturers and designers, and to promote Philadelphia as a destination for fashion-related events and education.
To achieve their goals, the task force has organized various events and initiatives, such as the Philadelphia Fashion Week, which is a bi-annual event that showcases local designers and manufacturers. They have also established partnerships with local organizations and institutions, such as the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator, which provides resources and support for emerging designers.
In addition to promoting the growth of the industry, the task force also aims to create a more inclusive and diverse fashion community in Philadelphia. They have emphasized the importance of representation and have worked to provide opportunities for underrepresented groups in the industry.
Overall, the PFGITF serves as a platform for industry professionals and stakeholders to come together and work towards a common goal of enriching the fashion and garment industry in Philadelphia.
On February 22nd, 2023 for its 18th anniversary Philly Fashion Week executed an array of runway shows, activations, workshops and networking opportunities which featured over 70 local and international designers. The owners Kevin Parker and Kerry Scott continue to provide opportunities for designers and move forward their mission to make Philadelphia a fashion capital. “Philly Fashion Week was created to be a platform of discovery and we are doing just that,” said Parker. Additionally, the fashion visionaries are partnering with FABSCRAP and Fashion District Philadelphia to present their “Next Up Student Design Competition & Trend Show” – where select local students received the opportunity to present their latest designs for a chance to win $1,000 and an educational session with industry professionals. The group of models walking in the trend show included breast cancer survivors to spread awareness and beauty.
Students from Moore College of Art, Jefferson University, Drexel University, Harcum University and Albright College were able to compete at Fashion District Philadelphia on Thursday, March 2nd 2023. In Black Magazine, chaperoned by legendary fashion stylist Deborah Ginyard attended and covered the two runway shows at The Events Center at Live! Casino & Hotel.
In my years in fashion it was refreshing to experience this high-end fashion show that inspired me culturally, diverse, and fashionably and especially in one of the cities I’ve always love that is Philadelphia. I was especially thrilled to witness designs from creatives who starred on the syndicated show, Project Runway such as my long time friend in fashion Laurence Basse and other talented artist such as Prajje Oscar. The show was segmented to two days, in the Live Casino Grand Ballroom, preceding an exclusive red carpet, sponsored open bar and hors d’oeuvres. On Saturday, March 4th The Runway l show treated special guests, press, buyers and consumers with an outstanding show to remember– Designers such as JPratt, Paragon Charisma, Dear Laney, Imperial Legacy, Hester Sunshine, Modisch, Atiya Joanne, Dell Scott and Khangle took us to Milan and abroad with their imaginations of runway bliss. Equally amazing was the following day at The Runway ll-Sunday, March 5th with amazing designers; Prajje Oscar, Christobal, Kovid Kapoor, Laurence Basse, Sarah Tremain, Verdict Still Out, Brenda O’Livis, GeChic , Khangle and Bishme Cromartie dazzled the collective with innovative designs that would satisfy many palettes from New York to Milan. Streetwear to Haute Couture, this show covered the full spectrum of design. Additionally for the community, young designers were given the opportunity to participate in the Next Up Student Design Competition & Trend Show Fashion District Philadelphia Live! Casino & Hotel.