There's something exceptionally beautiful about watching a group of diverse creatives produce an event and create a space where we can all celebrate and just be.
The first annual Arctic Bold was this type of event. Held at the Minneapolis Event Center, the party was in the middle of all the Super Bowl excitement, but without the rowdiness that often accompanies a sporting event.
“Hashtag never give up, hashtag diversity matters, hashtag fashion is my passion,” is all Richard Moody had to say to let us know that this show was full of heart and passion.
The main attraction was the fashion show, which was produced by Moody, who you may remember from one of his 27 annual holiday parties and his Dandies Project, which showcases fashionable men of color. The show was styled by Ethelind Belle, who has worked on countless photo shoots in the Twin Cities.
As frequent collaborators, diversity and high fashion is always a main focus with this duo. It was refreshing to see an array of people of different shades and sizes walking down the runway. It’s no secret that in the New York fashion industry, diversity has been a pretty foreign concept. The same, unfortunately, can be said about Minnesota; it's rare to find fashion productions with people of color as the focus that’s actually recognized by the masses.
The curated selection of designs were paired with furs, feathered headpieces, and some pretty eccentric eyewear. Retro shades and feather-rimmed glasses were the perfect accessories, juxtaposed with the otherwise classic looks. The audience was into it; the cheers and applause was deafening in the most glorious way possible.
Designer-duo Nancy Kuledge and Lisa Ramlet of Bittersweet Collection featured exceptionally breathtaking items. Their pieces consisted of African-inspired items fused with European culture. Bralettes and bustiers where paired with floor-length skirts in many of the featured looks. With diversity and inclusion a recurring theme in their work as well, it was clear to see there was true thought and detail in how to best showcase these garments.
The winter wonderland-themed event also featured margaritas, DJ tunes, and pop-up shops, plus cigars and massage stations in the VIP area. Onstage, revelers were treated to sets from step performance youth group Black Excellence, and singer Jamela Pettiford blessed us with her soulful voice. Actor, model, and photographer Lance Gross was the host for the night.
Twin Cities, let's use this show and others like it as an example. Diverse culture is beautiful, and deserves to be recognized. Expand your horizons and see where it can take you, because these are the things that make Minnesota’s fashion scene amazing. It's time for a change.