Just three years in the game, Jersey City Fashion Week is scoring major points in the fashion world.
The five-day event, held Sept. 24-28, was created under entertainment and sports attorney Desha L. Jackson’s Give to Live Community Foundation; it raises awareness and funds for charitable causes through fashion, sports and entertainment events. Last season, it held a football-themed fashion week in conjunction with the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl, where proceeds supported the New Jersey Recreation Foundation, the Snowflake Youth Foundation and the Gridiron Group.
This season featured Project Runway contestants Helen Castillo and Nathaniel Paul, and rapper Jim Jones’ Vampire Life clothing. Proceeds supported health and wellness nonprofits: the Mo’ Hair Foundation and St. Joseph’s School for the Blind.
The event opened Wednesday evening with designers Rue 114 and LeVirage Fashion on the lineup. Thursday night, designer Kenya Smith of Planet Zero Motorsports revved up the runway with his sleek “fashionable protection,” and former Broncos linebacker Darrell Reid shook things up some more as he danced down the isle wearing a Vampire Life T-shirt.
But just as its slogan “Style with Significance” states, there’s much more to Jersey City Fashion Week than the fabrics. Five Hudson County influencers were honored for their dedication to “making a change within the heart of the community.” Castillo, a Union City resident, along with Ben Figueroa of Jersey City Slam, Monique Smith of the Mo’ Hair Foundation, Sen. Robert Menendez, and David Feinhals of the St. Joseph’s School for the Blind received People of Influence awards.
Friday was dedicated to a children’s show, and on Saturday, the biggest show of the week, things turned up a notch. Jeannette Josue, National Ms. 2014, and Alice Lopez, the second place winner for Top Model Latina, were among the models who walked in Castillo’s Spring/Summer 2015 presentation. Other outstanding designers included Marco Hall, Fashion Sixty4 and Chablis Designs.
In between presentations, there were musical acts such as Giselle Bellas, an opera singer, and Philly-based female R&B group Aviance. Castillo even raffled off one of her gowns!
The event closed out Sunday with a brunch featuring Class by Charles and Sire by SirJean, and it already has big plans for next season. In Spring 2015, Jackson plans to extend the family-friendly event with a fashion design contest for students. For more information, visit jerseycityfashionweek.com.
Read my recap at nxupmag.com.