2011 Black Expo Here & Now Fashion Show entertains

I’ve never been to a show like this before.

I’ve never been to a fashion show where people dressed as “IBE mascots” dance down the runway and a former America’s Next Top Model contestant comments through the entirety and grinds on her co-host.  I’ve never been to a fashion show where the audience is invited to cheer for certain pieces or exaggeratedly fan themselves over the hotness of a male model. All of these things happened at the IBE fashion show last weekend, and the crowd went wild.

When the show began I was taking notes on the featured clothing, just as I would at any other fashion show, noting how the first designer, Fiafiline, was little more than cut-up T-shirts but also appreciating how the line displayed models of all shapes and sizes (we’re talking size 00 to size 14). But somewhere between the JCPenney kids wear and d.lamont Couture’s playful swimwear, I think I figured out what this show was all about.

It wasn’t about the clothing, necessarily. Sure, some of Berny Martin’s sportswear was pretty great, even if it’s been shown four times before, and some of Derek Hill’s d.Lamont pieces were adorable. But I don’t think the audience was concerned with buying anything off the runway, or even taking inspiration from it. On that Sunday afternoon the runway was more like a stage.

If anyone did want to purchase a piece from the presentation, designers’ websites, email addresses and even phone numbers were recited from the stage for the audience to take down.

The term “fashion show” has come to be used extremely loosely, not just at IBE but the world over. While this wasn’t the sort of fashion show I’d prefer to garner inspiration from, I did laugh and smile and bounce in my seat to the music. I wasn’t necessarily wowed by any of the designs that day, but I certainly did have fun. And I think that was the point.

Images courtesy of Marc McCoy.

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