For the fifth year running, Crown Heights artist Bobby Stone and The New Old School hosted the annual Earth Day Fashion Show to a sold-out crowd.
Dedicated to independent designers, fashion models, and the preservation of Mother Earth, the fashion show held at 12 Park Place featured more than a dozen unique and original designs from different NYC-based creatives.
“The show started out with just promoting independent designers and models. And then we switched it to replace and we can also pay homage to mother earth. I just personally feel like people don’t appreciate her,” Stone said in an interview, referencing his decision to include the Earth Day theme after two years. Stone also highlighted that the shows utilize upcycled or sustainably sourced materials.
IVIT, a clothing line created by Stone that sponsored the event, was inspired by the sound of hip-hop DJs scratching vinyl records, the local fashion show featured more than a dozen original designs.
Stone opened up the show with the debut of Earth Goddess Sasha, who donned a white dress with greenery and flowers strewn throughought. Stone led the audience north of 50 people to raise their fists in the air – a reference to the Black power salute— to “honor the ancestors” before giving a fist bump to someone at the show you didnt know. A cash bar and Jamaican food from Jaleesah’s Kitchen were served throughout the night.
Besides just highlighting first-time models and designers, Stone took the opportunity Staurday night to highlight people in the industry who have given back. Tamara Ivey, a former backup dancer who pivoted into the plus-sized fashion industry for 10 years, was recognized with the award for her contribution to the field
“I love that it’s all independent designers. I love that it’s community designers from different boroughs and the tri-state area. To be doing something for five years is a milestone. I love the fact that you know, he has a community of people that follow him. And that speaks volumes, right? When you have a following that means that people love you and they want to be around you and they want to see you succeed,” Ivey said in an interview.
Rather than opt for well-established designers, Stone looks to find people from his local community or friend groups to support.
“Were going to prove to the corporate world, the mainstream world, that were dope. That, in fact, we are competition,” Stone said about his decision.
James Walker, the designer behind Love is Wealth, started designing clothes two years ago and only began to take it seriously this past year.
But once he saw the models wearing his deput collection of T-shirts and hoodies in the dressing room before they hit the runway, he knew he made the right decision.
“When they put on my clothes, that was IT for me. I was like… GONE,” Walker said in an interview. “This gave me everything I need to keep going.”
Sean Whitler, the designer of the Style brand, said that he often didnt feel like continuing with the fashion show. He had attended the show in years past after meeting Bobby through mutual friends. But three months prior to the show, he felt unsure of himself and that he wasn’t ready. But Stone kept encouraging him.
“Man, Bobby really helped me and kept encouraging me like because a lot of times I wanted to give up. Maybe two to three times I told him that ‘I wasnt ready for this, that I cannot do this its too much stress.’ But he kept saying like ‘No, you got it bro. We got to do it.’ So the pushing helped me a lot,” Whitler said in an interview, adding that he plans to take a long eight plus hour sleep after the show.
Whitler also said the show was important to him since it was celebrated on Earth Day, the same day as his deceased older brother’s birthday.
“And every year I support [the fashion show] and every year it’s my brother birthday on the same day, on the 23rd,” Whitler said. “So you already know we here for the whole ship,you know what I mean?”