Today, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week kicked off in its new home, Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park in New York City. The event draws tastemakers, editors, onlookers, and buyers to witness the hottest in design industry talent. The semi-annual fashion events, formerly at Bryant Park, draw more than 230,000 attendees every year and generate more than $770 million in economic activity in New York City, according to reports.
Held from Sept. 9 to 16, this year’s shows will include apparel by top brands with two outstanding African Americans showing their lines–apparel and lifestyle brand designer Tracy Reese and jewelry designer Monique Pean. In celebration of the kick-off, here’s a snapshot of the top African American talent at Lincoln Center this season.
The Up-and-Comers: Brother-sister designers Louie Greaves and Anasa Greaves will debut their Spring 2011 collections during this year’s Fashion Week as part of the Academy of Art University show. Recent graduates, Louie will present his men’s wear collection and Anasa is a collaborator for a women’s wear collection. Anasa plans to move to Los Angeles to begin an internship at BCBG Max Azria and hopes to one day open her own boutique.
The Vet: Tracy Reese‘s designs have become a staple in the fashion industry with their bright colors and unique patterns. A board member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CDFA), Reese has expanded her multimillion-dollar brand from apparel to shoes, accessories, and home goods. Her three lines, frock!, plenty by Tracey Reese, and her namesake line, are sold in department stores and boutiques in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. The designer has collaborated with top brands, including Sally Hansen, Hue, and Keds. Her Spring 2011 line will be showcased at the Studio at Lincoln Center on Monday, Sept. 13.
The Newcomer: This 2009 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund competition winner’s pieces have been worn by style icons including First Lady Michelle Obama, Kerry Washington, and Angelina Jolie. Monique Pean, a Washington, D.C. native and former Wall Street professional, creates fine jewelry made of eco-friendly and sustainable materials.
The Backstage Genius: Audrey Smaltz, CEO of The Ground Crew, began her career as a model and later became commentator for the Ebony Fashion Fair. Today, her company provides indispensable backstage management during international fashion shows and other events, with clients including Vera Wang, Donna Karan, and Michael Kors.