The ubiquitous shades of blue and grey sprinkled across campus for Homecoming made the day’s fashion a bit monotonous – that is, until the third annual Black Leadership Forum Fashion Show kicked off at 8pm in Healy Hall’s second floor hallway. The typical blaring tailgate music was replaced by the incredibly talented students of Resonance Essence Live, and Georgetown t-shirts were exchanged for local designers’ hot new collections. Students lined the sides of Healy’s gothic corridor, snapchats at the ready, waiting to see friends stride across the stone floor to the sound of heels and cameras clicking. The halls were practically bursting from the energy of both the guests and the models, a diverse group of students who walked and posed with electrifying confidence.
The stunning student models at this year’s BLF Fashion Show showcased collections from six stylish companies, modeling everything from casual menswear to cocktail attire. However, three brands exhibited at the BLF show were DC-based standouts – Hugh & Crye, Violet Boutique, and HOMME.
Violet Boutique is a mandatory stop if you find yourself in Adams Morgan for a purpose other than a late-night trip to Jumbo Slice or Amsterdam Falafel. It is a rare find, a stand-alone boutique in one of DC’s most vibrant neighborhoods offering chic pieces from intern-wear to cocktail attire. Founded by a DC resident who chose to abandon the political career track, Violet Boutique provides DC shoppers with a more welcoming and personal shopping experience that differs from the transactional nature of shopping at Georgetown’s chains.
HOMME, located in the Anacostia Art Center, brings men’s fashion to a whole new level. The HOMME showroom offers a space for use far beyond shopping – it acts as a stylish art space for the local community, hosting art exhibitions, music video shoots, trunk shows, and live music. The vintage-inspired, urban vibe of HOMME’s apparel and lifestyle brand has attracted attention from the premier online local art and culture platform, ACreativeDC (an instagram you should be following, by the way).
Hugh & Crye understands that the world of men’s office and dress wear is difficult to navigate if the buyer falls anywhere outside the standard fit that most men’s fashion is tailored to. Women have many resources, from articles to specialty stores, that assist in dressing for one’s body type. However, forcing men of a diverse physical range into smalls, mediums, larges, and extra-larges ignores the diversity of men’s builds and can make outfitting oneself a negative and impersonal experience. Hugh & Crye, based in DC’s Navy Yards neighborhood identified this issue in menswear and has made the concept of “custom fit” accessible and practical. Its two founders developed a simple metric based on height and weight to create twelve different sizes. Of course, there’s nothing to complement good sizing like a good outfit; the online shop features over a hundred different buttondowns with a huge range of colors, patterns, and styles.
A highlight of the Black Leadership Forum’s inaugural homecoming celebration, the BLF Fashion Show defined itself in its third year as a unique event that brings people together from throughout the student body, the greater DC community, and the fashion world. In highlighting brands with such creative focuses, the BLF show reminded the audience of the unity between fashion, art, and the community.