Queens Fashion Week
The highly anticipated Queens Fashion Week made its debut February 18 at the old Standard Motor Lofts, 37-18 Northern Blvd. at 39th Street in Long Island City. Designers and fashion enthusiasts packed the converted factory to watch more than three dozen models, male and female, exhibit clothes from several independent local designers and boutiques. The show, which ran through February 20, featured a wide range of styles, including swimwear, eveningwear and clothes for plus size models. Queens Fashion Week had been postponed from its original February 10 start date due to inclement weather.
“Queens Fashion Week is very important for the cultural landscape of the borough,” Delali Osun Haligah, designer and QFW founder, said. “We want to make this in the future a must-see event.”
Haligah is the owner and founder of the fashion label Osun Designs that she created in 1982 while still in high school. The line features contemporary clothing with an African flavor. Her inspiration for bringing a fashion exposition to Queens was the result of a visit to Brooklyn’s Fashion Week a few years ago.
“I was amazed at the Brooklyn fashion show,” Haligah said. “You felt like you were in Bryant Park during Manhattan’s Fashion Week, and that’s what ignited the whole idea.”
Haligah, who grew up in a Jamaica neighborhood, hopes to make QFW a biannual event, celebrated by those who live in the borough and supported by local businesses.
The first night of the show was hosted by plus size model Mia Amber.
Local designers included “Project Runway” contestant Qristyl Frazier, who showed off her eclectic collection of brightly colored clothes. The Elmhurst based Frazier designs clothes that accommodate many body types, with sizes ranging from four through 24, for sale through her In- ternet based store, www. qristylfrazierdesigns. com. Vanessa Reyes and Suzan Burdan of Stella Gialla, 80-28 Cooper Ave. at The Shops at Atlas Park in Glendale, featured selections from their summer collection, including several tight-fitting sleeveless and collarless tops and skirts. The Eye Collection from Springfield Gardens was also present, showcasing selections from their line of casual wear. Other designers included SK Wilbur, Kimaathi’s Beads, Eminent Fash, Leira FL, Designer Knitwear by Michi, Monica Yepez Exclusive Swimwear, Ashantiel, Osun Designs and Ethereal Boutique at 47-38 Vernon Blvd. in Long Island City.
The second night of Queens Fashion Week, held at the Holiday Inn in Long Island City, was dedicated to styles created by young designers. The show returned to the Standard Motor Lofts for the final evening, with several exhibitions held during the afternoon and the final runway show later that night. Local designers also had the opportunity to sell their clothing and accessories after the final show.
Haligah hopes to expand the show later this year with an outdoor venue in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park while at the same time garnering support from Manhattan and Brooklyn fashion companies.
“Queens is the forgotten borough when it comes to fashion,” Haligah said. “People tend to have a negative image of Queens, which is unfortunate because people who live in this borough are very fashion conscious and very open minded.”
––Jason D. Antos