For two consecutive nights in June, Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City was home to the most exciting, diverse, and creative up-and-coming talents in fashion, culture, music, and dance.
This was MADE x PayPal, a fashion disruptor event foregrounding the talent and businesses of diverse emerging creatives.
“There’s brilliance out there that just needs a chance, that just needs to have someone believe in them and spend the time with them and be like, ‘You’re special,’” said MADE alumnus Dao-Yi Chow, co-founder of fashion brand Public School NYC. “And MADE did that for us.”
The event, produced by IMG FOCUS and curated by Public School, combined MADE’s roots in helping launch burgeoning fashion designers and culture creators with PayPal’s commitment to supporting diverse and underrepresented creatives and businesses. The vision was to celebrate, spotlight, and lift the next generation of trendsetters by giving them a stage that ordinarily could have been outside their reach.
“We get to exercise what our vision is on the same production level as a bigger name,” said Thermal of Whensmokeclears, who with co-founder K$ace showcased designs on the MADE runway along with Shanel Campbell of Bed on Water and Kingsley Gbadegesin of K.NGSLEY.
“From a pop-up shop to our own physical brick-and-mortar shop, PayPal has been there every step of the way,” said Amaurys Grullon, founder of Bronx Native, which participated in the MADE Marketplace along with 24 other NYC-based brands and businesses. “The MADE x PayPal event is extremely important for Black and brown small-business owners because it gives us an incredible platform for us to flourish.”
Over 3,000 people attended the event, which included the marquee runway shows, as well as DJ sets, a marketplace, talks, and dance performances.
Here are the best moments from the event:
Both days were built around the runway shows, meant to showcase different talent and designers. While major fashion shows have traditionally been exclusive affairs, MADE x PayPal was open to all and intentionally created to highlight diverse designers, models, and talent that break the mold.
The first show, presented by Public School, celebrated the designer duo’s 10-year MADE debut anniversary and showcased designers Des Pierrot, Maya Wang of Fried Rice, Long Xu of LORING New York, Michael Graham of Savant Studios, and Colin LoCascio. The designers collaborated on original designs using Public School’s “deadstock” materials, meaning unsold fabrics from past collections. Exclusive items from the collection can be shopped at the Public School NYC website, with all proceeds benefitting Young New Yorkers, a nonprofit organization that provides art-based diversion programs to court-involved youth.
From left to right: Designs by K.NGSLEY, Whensmokeclears, Bed on Water.
The following day it was time for K.NGSLEY, Whensmokeclears, and Bed on Water from the MADE x PayPal Class of 2022 to hit the runway. These three brands and their designers were championed by PayPal and offered up a breathtaking collection of daring designs, silhouettes, and colors. The clothing exhibited paid tribute to everything from New York’s queer club scene, international calling cards, Afrofuturism, and more.
With 25 ultra-trendy brands and small businesses and exclusive drops, the MADE x PayPal Marketplace was the hottest shopping destination in the city. Shoppers could pick up sneakers from Stadium Goods, LPs from Scorpion Records, jewelry from Mia Vesper, and more, all in St. Ann’s Warehouse. Every merchant was set up with PayPal Zettle payment technology, making the shopping experience smooth and seamless.
The Marching Cobras, a Harlem-based drumline and dance group, opened the runway show on Friday evening with explosive percussion and rhythms. The group, part of the Cobra Performing Arts, provides at-risk teens opportunities for artistic expression and development through music, marching, and dance.
On Saturday, New Zealand-born choreographer and dancer Parris Goebel performed alongside several other dancers outfitted in teal gear. Their pounding, powerful steps and moves got the crowd fired up for what followed.
On Friday, legendary rapper Nas closed out the night performing from a barge on the East River. With the sun setting over Manhattan’s skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge behind him, the stage couldn’t have been better for one of New York City’s most influential sons. The rain that started falling as the show began, lit up by the spotlights that illuminated the floating stage, did nothing to dampen the energy, and instead further fired up the crowd.
Want to share your support for the emerging designers and marketplace merchants? Visit www.ma.de/shop to shop their collections and learn more.
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