2016 Indiana Black Expo Fashion Show

image by Nicholas Olbina

Destiny’s Child could be heard through the speakers as the audience found their seats at the Indiana Black Expo Fashion Show.

Meanwhile, things were bustling backstage, with fluttering eyelashes beneath makeup artist’s hands to the right and models practicing their walks to the left.

As models and designers prepped for the show, the air was filled with anticipation.

Moustafa Mousa, an Indianapolis model, was particularly excited. This was his first time walking in the Black Expo Fashion Show. He sported a long-line tee with a sleek leather jacket, courtesy of Perry Haute Couture.

On the other hand, Alisha Hurley has been helping with the show for the last 6 years and now works as the Head Wardrobe Stylist. Sporting a black crop with a sheer midi skirt, Hurley could easily be mistaken for a model, “We are progressing,” she says when asked about Indy’s fashion industry. “There is a lot more to explore than before.”

Nikki Blaine, owner and designer of Nikki Blaine Couture, and a staple in Indy’s fashion scene, has been a part of the IBE Fashion Shows for over 15 years, first as a model and now as a featured designer. Blaine is a regular at fashion events around the country, working hard to promote the Nikki Blaine Couture brand. She commented that recognition, especially for black designers, can only happen through consistency and persistence on their part.

Speaking of consistency, all of the models in the show were sporting Mohawks and faux-hawks. The chic hairstyles were accompanied by what stylist Tika of Forever Stylish described as a “smoky and glossy” look.

Nikki Blaine Couture kicked off the show with her beachy “Sultry and Savory” collection. Some models sported flowy and sheer designs, while the men showed off snake print bathing suits. She was followed by Monica Woods, Ms Nicole Rene, Perry Haute Couture, Anjel’s Boutique, Precious Kreations, So Anxious and House of Chapple. Throughout the show, sheer fabrics, fringed accents and capes made frequent appearances – clearly dictating the current trends.

Reco Chapple of House of Chapple had a timely statement to make with his two collections: “Tribute to Victims of Orlando” and “Black Lives Matter”.

At the show’s conclusion, Chapple spoke about African American designers not being as well represented in the mainstream fashion industry as they could be. “Celebrities and entertainers, like Beyoncé, influence people a lot, so they should wear black designers and endorse them,” he commented. 

Overall, the show was an energetic affair, showcasing a fantastic variety of designs, and highlighting the dynamic talent found within the African-American fashion community.

Images by Jacob Click and Paul Castone.



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