Culture Piece Magazine's Maya Clark celebrates black glamor at Fashion Week MN's Harlem Renaissance

Maya Clark

Maya Clark Photo by Pierre Ware

Culture Piece Magazine's Maya Clark celebrates black glamor at Fashion Week MN's Harlem Renaissance

Fashion Week MN 2017

W Minneapolis - The Foshay
Varies; many events are free

When Maya Clark is asked about her Fashion Week MN debut earlier this year, she recalls being a nervous wreck swept up in a crippling feeling of Imposter Syndrome.

“I’m [was] crying and filling gift bags thinking, 'I’m not ready for all of this,'” she says.

It’s admittedly a tall order for anyone to curate and creative direct an entire show, from top to bottom, for an event of this caliber -- let alone have it be your first time doing such a thing at all. However, Clark is a relentless, creative content guru who can make it happen.

Now working as a creative director, a journalist, and the co-creator of Culture Piece Magazine, all of her creative dreams are manifesting faster than the 21 year old could possibly imagine.

When Jahna Peloquin, co-creator of Fashion Week MN, first discovered the Culture Piece Magazine, it hadn’t even been a full calendar year for the publication. Still, she reached out to Clark and co-founder Pierre Ware to be a part of festivities.

“She emailed us and I was happy as hell. I was like, 'Really?'” she recalls, “'I just post hella black stuff. Are you sure that you want us to do it and do something that’s us?' I was in shock.”

If Fashion Week MN was looking to add a more youthful vibrancy to its repertoire, they couldn’t have made a better choice. Clark’s cool yet down to earth nature spills across the magazine’s content. The images are stunning, and the articles give a unique voice that is clearly an expression of being young and a POC -- all of which are key factors she adds in her show.

As a frequent attendee of Fashion Week MN, Clark recognizes that being an official contributor and show curator means she’s broken the proverbial "glass ceiling" for young, POC creatives like her. So being true to her voice is key.

The main message of that first show, titled Melatonin, was to wake everyone up to culture and diversity. The event showcased POC designers, models, a spoken-word artist, and lots of fun music.

“The best thing that most people said about the event was that the environment of the crowd was really welcoming and inclusive,” she says. “If you’ve ever been to any fashion show, people don’t really go out of their way to talk to other people outside of their clique. [But here] everyone was dancing together and laughing. I’m glad that people felt that it was a safe space.”

For this year’s event, Harlem Renaissance, Maya wants the same type of energy, but with an old-time feel.

“I really love The Great Gatsby, and I really wanted to do a Great Gatsby party,” she says. “But I thought that was just a little too white. So instead [I chose] Harlem Renaissance because it’s [around] the same era but it’s black people and more culture.”

The show will embrace the charming aesthetic and overall ambiance of the Le Meridien Chambers in Minneapolis with an authentic “speakeasy” setup. The designers will create 1920’s fashion with a modern twist. Clark encourages the attendees to follow the era’s look as well (think black-tie occasion).

As she prepares for Culture Piece Magazine’s second go around at Fashion Week MN, Clark says to expect diversity, amazing fashion, dancing, and a good time. Most importantly, she wants people to feel free to be themselves.

“Everyone on the team is personable and relatable. I want people to see that we are normal people that do things that make us happy," she says. "I hope you like it, too.”

Just some normal kids, doing extraordinary work.

The Culture Piece crew.