Though New York Fashion Week officially starts on Friday, September 9, Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR) kicked it off early last night. 

For its 15th anniversary, HFR held its fashion show and Style Awards ceremony at the General Grant National Memorial in Harlem, with LVMH, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton as the title sponsor for the event. This year’s theme “Future’s Past” showcased the untold history of the countless contributions, sacrifices and innovations in a fashion that continue to elevate Black-owned brands. 

The ceremony began with The Virgil Abloh Award, presented by LVMH, to the incomparable actress, writer and producer Issa Rae. Sergio Hudson, the luxury women's wear designer received the Designer of the Year award. Renowned fashion critic, editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Robin Givhan received the Editor of the Year award. Celebrity stylist Ade Samuel, whose fashion resumé is as long as a CVS receipt, received the Stylist of the Year award. And the legendary Janet Jackson—Miss Jackson, if you're nasty—received the Icon of the Year award.

The award ceremony wrapped with Louis Vuitton Americas bestowing the Harlem’s Fashion Row ICON 360 grants to the three designers who presented their collections during the evening's fashion show slate: men's wear designer and winner of the HFR x Tommy Hilfiger Design Competition Clarence Ruth; women's wear Johnathan Hayden; and women's wear Nicole Benefield. Each designer was assigned an executive mentor from Louis Vuitton Americas to guide and support their growth.

Issa Rae. Image: Deonté Lee for BFA.
Sergio Hudson. Image: Deonté Lee for BFA.

Following the award ceremony, the fashion show kicked off with alluring designs from Johnathan Hayden opening the show, followed by Nicole Benefield and Clarence Ruth. 

Looks from Jhayden Official. Image: Andrew Walker, Rodini Banica for Shutterstock.
Looks from the Nicole Benefield Portfolio. Image: Andrew Walker, Rodini Banica for Shutterstock.
Looks from Cotte D 'Armes NYC. Image: Andrew Walker, Rodini Banica for Shutterstock

And then, to quote the legendary Jay-Z, “after the show, it’s the after party.” Attendees headed over way to HFR's after party held at the Jazz at Lincoln Center, and were entertained by the evening's surprise musical guest Cam’ron.

Cam'ron. Image: Lanscine Janneh for BFA.
Janet Jackson. Image: Lanscine Janneh for BFA.