Feature Photo by John Staples, JBMS1 Photography
By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
ATLANTIC CITY – Atlantic City Fashion Week has grown to be a successful and robust platform for African Americans and other designers of color in the United States, an outlet not often afforded them in other arenas.
For the show’s event manager Karen E. Beachum-Boyd, her involvement was more personal. Founded in 2011, Atlantic City Fashion Week is a high-end fashion event held every Spring and Fall, where thousands attend fashion shows, seminars, celebrity appearances, retail events and industry parties.
“I have been involved with Atlantic City Fashion Week since 2018 and it was all very much by accident, however, it has been quite rewarding,” Beachum-Boyd told Front Runner New Jersey recently. “My stepson, who is a designer, TRUTH Original Brand Clothing, showed his first collection in their Ready to Wear Show back in 2017.
“It has become a trend for not only my son but also for my granddaughter (Alaya) who is a model and my grandson (Marzine) who is a model and a designer as well. So, they say a child will lead you. Well, I most certainly can attest to that.”
Beachum-Boyd praised executive producers Lamont and Jeana Bowling for creating a compelling platform for people of color involved in the fashion industry to have the same spotlight as other well-known fashion extravaganzas in Paris and New York City.
According to the Atlantic City Fashion Week website, the week is presented in part by fashionSTYLE Magazine and KingBee Media and includes a vendor exhibition and pre-networking event for VIP guests.
“The Atlantic City Fashion Week Brand has become the backdrop for designers, models and entrepreneurs of all cultures and ethnicities to showcase their talents,” Beachum-Boyd said. “The Art of fashion bridges the gap and is a universal language of all people in the industry.
“Lamont and Jeana Bowling’s reach as icons in the fashion industry has grown to national and international exposure. They are one of the longest running fashion weeks in the nation.”
The latest Atlantic City Fashion Week event included the Philadelphia Eagles showcasing its “Fly Collection” and North Dakota indigenous designer Norma Flying Horse putting on a ceremonial runway show celebrating Native American heritage.
Beachum-Boyd said that designer Kathleen Arthur created a collection called “Black Elegance” for the internationally published ACFW Tween Models.
“Lastly but the most popular highlight, the VIP Experience was created by executive producer Jeana Bowling for our very special VIPs,” she said. “A very elegant space was outlined with greenery walls, elegant tables and a champagne wall for our guests with great food prepared by local chefs from the surrounding areas in New Jersey.
“Chef Ramona Brown of Roy’s Kitchen and Catering, Chef Tony Scott of Chef Tone LLC, Pastry Chef Erica Milbourn of Everything Classie, and Pastry Chef Danyel Bard of Sugar Wasted. The four Chefs competed in a Taster’s Choice Competition where the VIP Ticket Holders chose the Top Chef. Top honors went to Chef Ramona Brown and Chef Tony Scott.”
Beachum-Boyd said planning is full steam ahead for the next shows set for June 11-12 for its Resort Wear Showcase and Sept. 8-10 for its Season 21 event.
“I believe the executive producers Lamont and Jeana Bowling will agree with my statement ‘the planning is constant and never ends.’ I believe this is what is so unique about the Atlantic City Fashion Week Brand,” she said.
“In any fashion event I believe that the public or society can enjoy the expression of the designers and model personalities,” she said. “The public can reflect on who and what they can be through fashion. Fashion leaves a footprint and takes us outside our comfort zone to explore and process different styles that are relatable to our different cultures.”
Beachum-Boyd said ACFW is in “constant motion,” from its award-winning hair makeup team, deejays, vendor director, media and operations manager and support staff.
“This is the culture the Bowlings have created for their brand and therefore it absolutely continues to work well and be so successful,” she said.
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