Rainbow of Fashion
Rainbow Fashion Week is returning to New York City – one of the four fashion capitals are the world – for the third consecutive year kicking off Manhattan’s pre-Pride events with eight days of queer fashion shows, June 17-24, 2016. (www.RainbowFashionweek.com).
When it comes to Fair-a-Porter … green is the color du jour!
This year, founder and producer Jag E. Beckford are taking Rainbow Fashion Week’s love affair with its Social Responsibility Platform to the next level. The savvy entrepreneur decided to do something revolutionary and announced she will be hosting the first-ever Carbon Neutral fashion week.
Conceptualized in June 2013 by Jag E. Beckford, Rainbow Fashion Week, brought to New York City and introduced to the United States the first Inaugural 8 Days of Queer Pride Fashion Shows with a social responsibility message.
Endorsed by Mayor Bill DeBlasio as “An Official New York City Pre- Pride Fashion Event,” RFW not only brings fashion at its finest but as well displays the skills of fashion industry insiders & experts as out and proud LGBT professionals. So from the hair & makeup artist, celebrity stylist, designer, choreographer, and set designer, RFW brings you the “Art of Fashion in Not Your Average Fashion Shows.”
Eight days of exceptional queer fashion shows, with daily themed runways such as “Rainbow Pets”, “Rainbow Tots”, “Trans’’ition”, “Urban Knights”, “Inside The Celebrity Closet”, and events like “Hair du Soleil” (a showcase of the top ’do designers in town), “Kids Who Tech” and “PhotoViews: Body Art”.
LGBT fashionistas are slated to serve up a dazzling platter of colors, patterns, prints and styles throughout the one-week event, setting the tone for the Fall/Autumn looks.
The glam squad who will be sending their latest collections down the runway includes: celebrity couturiers Andre Soriano (Style Network’s fashion competition series “Styled to Rock,” produced by Rihanna), Dwight Eubanks (Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta), and Jag’s own label, JagandCo, among many others.
Over the last 2 years, Rainbow Fashion Week has attracted over 25,000 queer and gay-friendly attendees and over 5 million impressions. The event continues to showcase the hottest queer designers, photographers, models, make-up artist, stylist, merchants, retail buyers.
RFW fills in an important gap, as there are no other fixed events representing the LGBT Culture in any of the major fashion capitals.
Let Jag, tell you more about the show and what’s happening in the fashion world right now.
1) As a former entertainment attorney what inspired you to into fashion?
ANS: Funny how it seems out of sorts to be a left brain and right brain person. I am extremely academic in nature, have taught as an Adjunct Professor and I also design, dance, sing, play drums, congas, and timbales. So if you find me doing any of those things don’t be surprised either. I put myself through law school creating one of a kind tee shirts where I designed alphabets made in the shape of bodies and drew them through the head of Africa and placed those on Tees and Jeans. So fashion has always been one of my passions.
2) Did you find you had any push back from the tradition fashion world? Especially from any masculine brands?
ANS: I was not paying any attention to peoples response. I was dressing straight men, femme women and my masculine of center women all at the same time because folk just loved what I was doing, so no.
3) When you created Ghana’s first stage play “Romantic Nonsense,” did that help you create Rainbow Fashion Week Shows ? How or why do you feel it helped?
ANS: It was great producing that play in Accra, Ghana. I was actually there planning the very first Ghana International Music Festival and the opportunity arose to produce this play. I jumped at the chance because I was out of my comfort zone. But, it was a great experience. I faced new challenges since no play of its type with stage sets, marketing budgets etc., really existed then.
It helped me believe that if I could be all the way across the globe taking on a project, with a new production team on hand and the expectation so high, I was going to give it my all and see outside the box. So yes it helped because I used alternative, to alternatives to find solutions to production challenges.
4) How do you select designers every year?
ANS: Networking, I am a closet social media whore ie., Facebook, Instagram, (I pick up people everywhere, just like a hooker and lead them to my fashion lair), word of mouth and they reach out to us.
5) What do you feel is the biggest fashion trend right now in the LGBT fashion?
ANS: Diapper/Harem/Hammer Pants, tattoos, bright colored hair.
6) Is there a fashion trend you are so ready for it to end?
ANS: Diapper/Harem/Hammer Pants, tattoos, bright colored hair (LMAOL).
7) Since you have such a strong musical background, do you feel that music has an influence on fashion?
ANS: Fashion does not exist without art and music. Those to compositions are a natural compliment to fashion. We are honoring one of the C&C Music Factory Legends Deborah Cooper for her contributions to the catwalk experience. Music inspires the model, designer, stylist and the audience receives that experience collectively.
8) Did you find it hard to locate fashion designers for your 1st Annual Rainbow Fashion Week?
ANS: No, I am pretty popular in the local LGBTQ+ community, people knew me from 100 DapperQ publication, a plethora of New York Fashion Week shows I’d participated in and musicians who introduced me to the stylist who all knew designers. Our biggest challenges for New York City were venues.
9) Who are your personal top fashion designers?
ANS: Ralph Lauren, Givenchy, Lanvin.
10) When you created Jaguar and Company Clothier, what was your biggest inspiration or motivation for the line?
ANS: My mother, who encouraged me on her death bed, to do what I was passionate about and I wanted the name and clothing to reflect the designers I love so I was constantly looking at the detail. I loved the detail and that’s what I paid attention to most.
JagandCo is not yet in production but we are planning to take our production needs to Roartan, Honduras. The Mayor and Goodwill ambassador Patricia Guiterrez have been working hard on welcoming our next chapter the Rainbow Fashion Week Dream Academy: Women’s Economic Empowerment Program. We will be taking another line in addition to JagandCo, set 10 women up in their first “seamstress” business, giving them industrial sewing machines, solar panels, and generators. We will set up shop in what will soon be our very own 20,000-foot raw space. These women will receive their first production order for vests, suits, ties etc., and knowing that my masculine of center women can order and customize their clothing is all the motivation needed to continue this journey.
11) Have you seen women are looking for masculine-style clothing have a hard time finding clothing options?
ANS: Not really there are many company’s jumping on the QUeer women clothing store. We should have as many options as men do, so I don’t mind. People buy what they like and want, so I’m proud of all my QUeer folk designing and distributing.
12) What do you think is the biggest fashion or accessory must-have for the summer?
ANS: Vests, shorts, saddle bucks, kool socks and fedora..(so typical JagandCo)