The crowd that occupied the center of Macy’s Shopping Store in Aventura consisted of women and a few men of all ages. The DJ for the day alternated between sultry classics like Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit and John Legend. Lite bites, which were provided by Chef Irie, were passed around as guests lined up for a glass of white wine from Esterlina Vineyards (one of the few black-owned wineries in Northern California.) It was clear that the guests were at Macy’s for a unique celebration. The Senior Vice President of Diversity Strategies, Bill Hawthorne, explained that every year Macy’s makes an effort to uniquely celebrate Black History Month. This year, the department store decided to honor the history of Black style and its present-day influence in the fashion world.
As everyone was seated,Local 10 News anchor Neki Mohan introduced CEO of Ankra Miami Evelyn Onyejuruwa, singer and actress Demetria McKinney and style expert Constance White to the audience. The collection of women discussed what Black style meant to them.
“It’s freedom,” Constance White said. “Freedom to accept yourself for who you are.”
The group of women discussed how the use of vibrant colors, intricate patterns and textures have been dominating the fashion industry for the past year and how the trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
“African prints are a big trend,” Onyejuruwa said.
The panel of women applauded Macy’s department store for being one of the few stores that carries Black designers and emphasized the importance of exposure and awareness of Black Desginers.
“We need to celebrate our contributions to the fashion world,” Mckinney said. “But a lot of the time we don’t always hear about them. A lot of people don’t know that a Black woman designed Jackie O’s wedding dress. Her name was Ann Lowe. Those are things that we need to know.”
By the conclusion of the event, which also included a fashion presentation in addition to a musical performance by McKinney, audience members walked away with a preview copy of Constance White’s new book, Constance White presents the Queens & Kings of Style, and McKinney’s new single Work With Me with a purchase of $50 or more.
Hawthorne shared his feelings about the event’s success with Worthy Magazine.
“I was very pleased with the turnout,” Hawthorne said. “It was our goal to discuss culture and to teach the audience something that they didn’t know already.”