Nicole Johnson and Sarom Curtis are two of Halifax’s up-and-coming fashion designers. The pair, who are both students at the Centre for Arts & Technology on Barrington Street, received a chance to show off their fashions at a unique fashion show on Saturday, February 8.
The Rising Star Fashion Experience took place at the Black Cultural Centre on Cherry Brook Road in Dartmouth to celebrate both African Heritage Month and local talent like Johnson and Curtis. The event was also a fundraiser for the Centre, an important cultural institution in the community since 1983.
For Johnson, this was a chance to introduce her designs to her own community and show them a new style for women of colour, while celebrating the community. She showed two collections: the first includes soft and delicate looks she says were inspired by the African violent; and the second collection is more career-focused, but still pretty designs, timeless looks she says women will consider “pride pieces” to include in their closets.
“They don’t have to be in a box,” Johnson says of her audience. “They don’t have to cater to what someone else says looks good on them…I like pushing the boundaries but making something they can be proud of.”
Curtis’ line includes evening gowns inspired by looks from the 1940s, made with textiles of rich colour, draped over the body. “(The audience) will see something new, fresh and different,” says Johnson of Curtis’ collection for the show.
Also included in the show was local businesses such as Kwestomar Kreations and African Apparel, gift store Divine Decadence Darling and Lia Sophia jewelry.
Johnson and the rest of the organizers have been working hard on the show for the past several weeks. But, she says, she gets her energy from the others.
“Seeing people excited and committed to something inspires me,” she says. “It keeps me going.”
Learn more about Nicole Johnson’s work in our story Re-inventing Atlantic Fashion Week from our September 2013 issue.