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Bronx Hosting its First Fashion Week in Historic Freedman Home

By Eddie Small | September 3, 2014 10:54am
 Bronx Fashion Week will take place from Friday, Sept. 5 through Sunday, Sept. 7.
Bronx Fashion Week
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BRONX — The Bronx is launching its first Fashion Week this year, and locals are excited about what it could mean for the borough.

Flora Montes, executive director of the event, said she came up with the idea about a year ago, when she went to Latin Fashion Week in Manhattan and found herself very impressed with what the celebration had to offer.

"I walked in, and I was like, 'Wow. Why isn’t this in the Bronx?'" she said.

The celebration will run from Friday, Sept. 5 through Sunday, Sept. 7, at the historic Andrew Freedman Home on Grand Concourse and East 167th Street.

Each day there will be a business expo from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., a VIP party from 5 to 6:30 p.m., and a fashion show from 7 to 9 p.m.

The 14 designers set to participate in Bronx Fashion Week include Jesenia Lopez and Miroslava Rosado, both from The Bronx, as well as Camilla Couture and Shadeth Aracena.

Aracena, an 18-year-old who lives in West Harlem, said she was excited to participate and saw The Bronx as an upcoming fashion destination because of its venues for shows.

"I never, never actually knew about the Andrew Freedman Home," she said. "But it’s really beautiful."

Baron Ambrosia, who stars in the "The Culinary Adventures of Baron Ambrosia" on the Cooking Channel, will host the fashion show on Sept. 7 and said he was thrilled to be taking part and that it made sense for the borough to host a Fashion Week.

"The funk happens here, and then it kind of dissipates out," he said. "And then by the time it reaches Oklahoma, or by the time it reaches Samoan Islands, people don’t even think, 'Oh let me trace that back to 161st and Grand Concourse. Let me trace that back to Bronx River Houses.'"

Montes said the Fashion Week could be good for the borough's reputation and help it move beyond the stereotypes people associate with the area.

"It’s going to take The Bronx to another level," she said. "It's going to be a positive thing."

Supporters and sponsors of the event include the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, the Bronx Museum of the Arts and the Fordham Road Business Improvement District.

Daniel Bernstein, deputy director of the Fordham Road BID, said that clothing stores like Dr. Jay's, Jimmy Jazz and Easy Pickins have made Fordham a fashionable neighborhood, so he felt the event was a perfect fit for the organization.

"We don’t get a lot of eyes on fashion," he said. "There are so many other Fashion Weeks, obviously, south of The Bronx, so we thought that this was, obviously, a great concept."

Ellen Bruzelius, executive director of the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, said her institution got involved because Fashion Week organizers wanted to do some promotional photo shoots on the grounds.

She was grateful for the chance at some exposure for her organization and for The Bronx as a whole.

"Anything that is new and helps pique interest in different things going on in The Bronx is absolutely great," she said.

A three-day pass for the week's parties and fashion shows costs $90. Day passes for the parties and fashion shows cost $35 each, while day passes for just the fashion shows are $25 apiece. Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite.

Montes said she hopes to celebrate more Fashion Weeks in The Bronx going forward and would like it to last for five days in 2015 as opposed to three.

"Set the brand; set the name; get it in motion," she said. "And then next year, make it even bigger."