New York Fashion Week’s official start is set for Sept. 6 but Nike is trying to get the competitive edge, by presenting Harlem’s Fashion Row’s style awards and fashion show on Sept. 4.
The sneaker giant’s leading athlete LeBron James is not only the event’s co-presenter but also one of the honorees. Suitably, the occasion is billed as “The Strongest.” The new Los Angeles Laker will share the stage with fellow honorees Bethann Hardison, Dapper Dan and stylist Jason Rembert. A fashion activist and documentarian, Hardison has been striving for diversity in the fashion industry for decades. While many recognize Dapper Dan from his ads for Gucci, the Harlem couturier, who was born Daniel Day, defined his own signature style before collaborating with Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele. With Christian Cowan, Winnie Harlow, Tracee Ellis Ross, and “Insecure” stars Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji among the bold-faced names in his orbit, Rembert could bring a celebrity or two. The gathering will also showcase the work of women-led labels Kimberly Goldson, Fe Noel and Undra Celeste NY.
The dress code for guests and attendees is black tie and Nikes. James knows how to make an entrance. For last spring’s NBA Finals, James and his then-fellow team members on the Cleveland Cavaliers wore coordinating short suits from Thom Browne. The 33-year-old power forward bolstered his fashion quota with a $41,000 alligator-skin doctor’s bag from Browne. In recent years, Nike has fastened ties with the fashion pack, offering editors personal training sessions while in Europe for runway shows.
Aside from sparring on Twitter with President Trump, and subsequently gleaning support from First Lady Melania Trump for his support of the nontraditional public “I Promise School,” the enterprising James will have a hand in the just-ordered CBS show “Million Dollar Mile” and Showtime’s upcoming docu-series “Shut Up and Dribble” as an executive producer. With a lifetime endorsement deal with Nike that is estimated to be as high as $1 billion, Nike’s man of the hour is expected to reveal some surprise news with Harlem’s Fashion Row at the event.