Although The Bronx has inspired fashion around the globe, particularly in urban design, gave the world some of the most recognized labels such Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, it is often overlooked as place to hold a major fashion event.
All that is changing this year as the first ever Bronx Fashion Week will be held at the Andrew Freedman Home from Sept 5th to the 7th featuring a wide range of designers focusing on high end fashion.
(Full disclosure: As of this Monday, June 16th, I am on the advisory board of Bronx Fashion Week and Welcome2TheBronx will be assisting in the organization of this event along with other great individuals committed to making this an event to remember.)
Bronx Fashion Week is the brainchild of Flora Montes, a Bronx born and raised woman who wears many hats. Mother, friend, spoken word artist and poet, activist, chef — you name it.
A month before I was approached by her to join the advisory board I had the pleasure of engaging Flora in an interview and below is a candid look into who Flora is, why Bronx Fashion Week, and so much more.
How did Bronx Fashion Week come to be? Who else is part of this event?
I was invited to Latin Fashion Week in 2013 by a friend. I asked to meet with him to see if this event could be bought to the Bronx. I personally felt it would be a great idea to give this back to the Bronx. The vision was to showcase high fashion highlighting businesses with activities geared towards families and Bronx Fashion Week was born.
Will this be a yearly event or will it coincide with fashion week in Manhattan several times a year?
Bronx Fashion Week will be held September 5th through the 7th at Andrew Freeman Mansion for the first time this year. The vision is to have it become a yearly 5 day showcase event coinciding with NY Fashion week and actually we are already in discussions for next year.
Do you still liveI in The Bronx?
I still live in The Bronx in Fordham Hill to be exact and I do have a home in Connecticut where I raised my two children and my mom lives out there so I spend time in between both NYC and Connecticut.
You recently were selected one of 25 most influential women of the year and also serve on the Advisory Counsel at the Bronx Museum. What drives you to continue giving back to the community? Why is it so important?
I was selected as one of the 25 most influential women in the Bronx nominated by the NY Botanical Garden because of my school supply drive and my work with children and families in need by Elizabeth Figueroa who I am eternally indebted to for even thinking of me.
I am also a Counsel Advisory Member at the Bronx Museum of the Arts and have been for 2 years active. I am very passionate about passing it forward because of the blessings that I have been given like the ones I just mentioned.
My life was less than stellar ending in the passing of my baby after carrying her to full term 12 years ago. I needed to make sense of a senseless tragedy. I needed to honor this angel that touched my life for whatever short time I had with her. The Bronx was a no brainer for me because I was born and raised here and in the process of losing her I learned that everything in life happens for a reason and it was up to me to find the good in it and turn it around and while I lost one child and lost so much I gained a lot spiritually. I also knew in my heart I had to do so in order to give my children a legacy they could be proud of because unfortunately I was not so proud of mine and I wanted different for my 2 older children.
Where in the Bronx did you grow up? Which schools did you attend?
I grew up in The South Bronx, Millbrook Housing Projects. I attended PS 43, Clark Junior High and graduated from Walton High School.
When did you leave the Bronx?
I left the Bronx in 1989 in order to save my troubled marriage which was already showing signs of alcohol abuse. I was also worried about my son and as I said my life was far from stellar, I grew up way to fast, saw way too much and went through some things that no child should have to go through and If I was able to give my son the opportunities I never had then I was going to do what was necessary to accomplish that. So when my mom approached me about leaving to Connecticut and with my heavy heart I left.
What do you hope comes out of Bronx Fashion Week?
I want Bronx Fashion Week to become an annual event. One that will take the Bronx to another level, one that is positive economically for the Bronx bringing in people from all over NYC and the world. I want to eventually use Bronx Fashion Week to empower the community by giving back and so much more.
Tell us more about the event and what we can expect.
Bronx Fashion Week will be held September 5th through the 7th. We will showcase food, entertainment and a fashion showcase comparable to New York Fashion Week. Bronx Fashion Week will be a culmination of high fashion, art and businesses.
Bronx Fashion Week will be held at The Andrew Freeman Mansion on The Grand Concourse. We will have vendors from small businesses to corporations, we will have high fashion, we will have art, we will have entertainers from all over the world. It is going to be the event of the year and for years to come.
If you are interested in becoming involved with Bronx Fashion Week, do not hesitate in contacting us, whether it’s to volunteer, or for sponsorship opportunities for your business or organization.
You can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay tuned for more information as the weeks go by as well as the official press release for the event. Information
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