Written by | Ray Cornelius
The Revolution will be TELEVISED!
A little over an hour ago, my friend and fashion designer Darrell Cortez presented his newest men’s wear collection as part of New York Fashion Week. A staple in the fashion industry since the early 90’s, Cortez has had the pleasure of working with some of the biggest names in entertainment including Janet Jackson, Diddy, Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes and most recently, Mack Wilds. However, today’s showing was not just about name recognition or well-tailored clothes as much as it was about making a social statement. According to Cortez, the fashion industry needs a revolution.
“My show is a social commentary on the lack of representation of African-Americans in the fashion industry across the board. My inspiration comes from the colors of the South African flag — Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, Black and White,” says Cortez. “These colors are reflected all throughout the entire collection including the accessories, the shoes, the clothes, trimming, and patches. It’s spring and summer looks, so I use a lot of bright colors which make it very youthful and vibrant.”
Cortez also believes that while many men and women of color have landed key positions in some of the top fashion houses, it’s the runway that still lacks the most diversity. He is hoping to change that through his show.
“98% of my models are African-American. I hold heartily support, the African-American community because it’s part of my DNA. So, whether you’re the independent designer like me or the big Seventh Avenue designers, it’s just a matter of making the decision to employ more models of color. Working in the industry for as long as I have, you never lose sight of the underrepresentation of Black models. Trust me, there are still more barriers that need to be broken down. I am not anti-White but I am pro-Black.
Darrell Cortez Fashions can be found at his new website, www.darrellcortezmens.com