The 2023 NYFW Blue Jacket Viewing Party and Dillard's Fashion Show In Atlanta, Georgia!
By: Lauren K. Clark
Talks and discussions on Winter 2023's New York Fashion Week are continuing the buzz for what was considered some of the most eccentric, and mind-shattering fashions of the winter season. Yet, another fashionable event that took place was the New York Fashion Week's connection to the wellness factor.
It was a day to remember, when men's health came first. For the Blue Jacket Viewing Party, in connection to the pre-show of New York Fashion Week 2023, the centering of men and prostate cancer was the focal point of the event. Blue jackets were the symbol of healing. What could ever go wrong when wearing the color, blue?
For 2023, the 7th Annual Blue Jacket Fashion Show, made prostate cancer awareness its own walk on the runway. Founded by designer Frederick Anderson and marketer Laura Miller, a collaboration among Fashion Group International (FGI) and ZERO took place. FGI Chapters from Dallas, St. Louis, and Atlanta, Georgia also supported initiatives to raise funds for prostate cancer patients of marginalized communities. Racial inequity was another important issue for addressing early detection, treatment, and awareness. Yet, there was something intriguing, and oh so hospitable, for one night of fashion, fundraising, and fun in this peachy city!
The evening of February 1, 2023 was a fashionable delight in the city of Atlanta! Located at Dillard's in one of Atlanta's premiere social and shopping locations, the Blue Jacket Viewing Party and fashion show brought a taste of the Big Apple to Georgia's orchard of peaches. The event took place from 5:30pm-9:00pm EST. The purpoae of t the occasion? Putting men's health and prostate cancer as a fashionable priority. In addition to highlighting the abundance of fashionable blues, the event also raised money for the ongoing fight of men's prostate cancer.
Various personnel of Atlanta and New York's fashion industry were in attendance. It included "Dean Of Fashion," (Fashion Editor of Upscale Magazine) Dr. Courtney Hammonds, Raquel Riley Thomas (FGI-Atlanta Publicist, Former model of Elite Model Management and Ford Model NYC, Mrs. Maryland America, and 2011 Mrs. America (1st RU)), Jerrimiah James (Premier Sales Consultant and Personal Shopper) and other prominent guests of the fashion industry. Sponsored and organized by Fashion Group International (FGI)-Atlantaregion and Dillard's of Atlantic Station, the event focused on the empowerment of men's health, through the wearing of blue. One of the most intriguing aspects of the fashion stemmed from the personal stories, and testimonies, of those who had been most impacted by prostate cancer. A cocktail reception made the space an inviting atmosphere. From there, the runway was center stage!
Seeing highlights of beauty and fashion, with a wellness touch, was truly magical. The night brought a sparkling essence of the color, blue! The runway had been illuminated with women and men models; some of the older generation, others of the new. Guests and attendees cheered them on, as the runway led to an experience of power, love, and victory in the fashion hub. Personal stories of one young gentleman, revealed losing male, family members to prostate cancer. It also included how Black American men are impacted by prostate cancer at a higher rate than their White counterparts.
For other key members of the event, organizing the event moved them to a deeper connection to fashionable healing. Speaking with Nancy Flaherty, Atlanta Regional Director of Fashion Group International, the reason for the event took on a personal touch. "Prostate cancer affects one in three men, and there are several men in my life whose lifestyles have been impacted by this disease. I lost my uncle years ago to prostate cancer, before the ability to heal from this disease became an option," states Flaherty. Tinika Blackmon-Fashion Show Producer, Coordinator, and Model conveys similar experiences for the night's fashionable wellness. With her experiences as a former model for the Ebony Fashion Fair Tour (Of Ebony Magazine), Blackmon has also experienced the power of fashion in combination with wellness. "Prostate cancer is an important matter for me directly because my father is a survivor of prostate cancer. He had an early detection." Interesting enough, the initial start of the program began with one testimony of losing one's father to this painstaking disease.
One of the primary experiences of the night is how fashion connects those personal testimonials of colleagues, friends, and acquaintances. Through this lens, fashion occupies a more humanistic touch; a great contrast to the images of harshness and inhumanity, which has too often been connected to the world of high fashion. For such an occasion, fashion celebrated those personal stories. In addition to fashion, such testimonies highlighted the connection of fashion into other domains. Ah!Blueish colors, patterns, shapes, and sizes sew a sparkling healing of design!
Blue was the magical coloring for this fashionable night! A live streaming from the shows performance in New York City-courteousy of ZeroCancer.org and fgi.org-was brought to life in the center of this Atlanta metropolis. From the East Coast to the "Dirty South," different variations of blueness brought a glamorous hue to the night sky. You can observe the significance of any fashionable event when people engage in extra research, for the fashionable occasion. When asked about the essence of blue, Nancy Flaherty gave an intriguing perspective, surrounding her preparation for this event.
"Blue is a serene color. Yes-the color of water, but also a universal color, that looks good on everyone. Instead of the typical black that we all wear, blue was a challenge to many in the fashion group. I had several calls before the evening from members asking if "this was the right blue" for our Blue Jacket event. We consider fashion to be our calling card, saying 'Hi! I want to have a conversation.' People can relate to connecting through fashion on so many different levels-including a lack of effort in fashion. That can be a statement, as well. The audience showed up in their best blue hues and came to support the cause. It was great to see so many engaged attendees."
Other interpretations of fashion's blues were described with an elegant appeal. Board member of FGI-Atlanta, Yolanda White highlighted the color blue in fashion as "relaxed, classic, timeless, and conformity." Such detailed expressions gives incite into how healing can become happier and exciting, through the creativity of the world of fashion. Somehow comfort, when discussing pain, is made possible in this industry. "Fashion serves as an unexpected twist to open up the conversation about a health topic, that is vital to men. The Blue Jacket Fashion Show allows a platform for women and men to gain greater awareness and understanding about prostate cancer," states White.
The Blue Jacket Viewing Party's fashion show in Atlanta, Georgia lived up to the elegance of Southern Charm, in its own, fashionable way! ATLian style, shall we say? It's apparent that such a night will not be the last for one Southern metropolis. "Dillard's was amazing to work with. When I reached out to Stephanie, their general manager, to ask about hosting our FGI event, she jumped at the chance and Dillard's was so generous with their support. I look forward to many more collaborations at their store in the future. It was a great location," states Flaherty.
One night of blue! Another runway of stylish truth! The success of 2023's Blue Jacket Viewing Party-with a fashion show from Dillard's apparel in Atlanta, Georgia-showcased the power of walking the runway with a bluish attitude. Awareness and healing invoked a fashionable power, of wearing healing! It was not only a message of awareness, but a celebration of fashion's blue fighters, who also passed away, along Heaven's runway!