September is known for many things: returning to school, the last days of summer and New York Fashion Week. As NYFW season comes around, many are often reminded of the power that the fashion realm holds from catapulting careers and influencing trends for years to come. It is also a time that reminds fashion connoisseurs and admirers alike of the importance of genuine representation, especially for Black creatives.

In a space that prioritizes aesthetics, it is of equal significance to center the variance of beauty, style, taste and culture. With this in mind, the EMERGE! Fashion Show has returned to NYFW to provide burgeoning Black designers with a platform to showcase their design talents. Founded by Dionne Williams, the show is celebrating its 11th year. EBONY is proud to be a media sponsor for the fashion show, which will be live-streamed via GFN TV.

Taking place on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, a medley of Black designers and their brands will be showcased during the show: Stevie Edwards of Stevie Edwards Chicago, Justin Haynes of Jus10H, Malcolm Staples of Malcolm’s Custom Made To Fit, Makarassi Couture, Ivan & Erin and Scala by Sello Medupe. Trailblazing stylist Misa Hylton will be honored during the show with the Fashion Innovator Award.

EBONY spoke with designers Haynes and Medupe about the inspiration behind their collections and their excitement in being tapped for this year's EMERGE extravaganza.

EBONY: What were your earliest inspirations in fashion?

Justin Haynes: My earliest inspirations, which I carry with me today as well, are the vintage eras of the 60's and 70's. In those times, everyone dressed well. Regardless of the location, classic looks were served every time. I also look to the TV sitcoms and movies of my childhood. I like to take a look back and recreate those fashion looks to build my collections.

Sello Medupe: My earliest inspiration was seeing a singular fashion illustration for the first time when I was in high school.  It inspired me to want to step into the world of fashion. I’ve also been inspired by my mother's sense of style when I was growing up.

How does it feel to have your work showcased and highlighted during New York Fashion Week?

Haynes: To be showcased on such a high level through EMERGE!, an African American platform that presents class and excellence, is amazing! I’m so honored to be a part of this NYFW season. Dionne Williams has been excellent and so kind to work with. I’m excited for the show.

Medupe: Similarly, I am so grateful and thankful for the opportunity. I consider it to be an immense platform for me to showcase my work.

EBONY's motto is "Moving Black Forward." How do you do that through your work?

Haynes: I "move Black forward" through fashion. Blackness is more than a culture or a movement. It’s about excellence. It’s about being the best you that God created. And in my own way, I’m moving Black forward through style. 

Medupe: I "move Black forward" by always remembering where I come from and where I am going. Additionally, I "move Black forward" by pushing forth African culture and our bold, significant and diverse narratives through my clothing designs.