As the southern city of Birmingham continues to establish itself as a burgeoning cultural center, its annual Magic City Fashion Week has emerged as a notable celebration of creativity and innovation in the world of fashion. As a 501c3 organization and a proud member of the esteemed Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Connects program, Magic City Fashion Week is dedicated to providing a platform for emerging designers and creatives, while bringing a fresh perspective to the fashion landscape of the South. Over the years, Magic City Fashion Week has provided a platform for a diverse array of designers, models, and artists to showcase their unique perspectives and talents, with past seasons featuring groundbreaking designers like Kenya Buchanan and Caléchie, who have since gone on to achieve incredible success. MCFW has raised funds for several non-profit organizations, hosted HIV testing events, partnered with over 100 local businesses, highlighted and showcased over 50 artists of color, and provided funding to three emerging designer winners to help advance their careers in fashion. MCFW continues to raise the bar for the creative community in Birmingham, Alabama, captivating and inspiring fashion enthusiasts from all corners of the country.
Daniel Grier, the founder of Splashed by DKG, a luxury streetwear brand famous for its bold prints and up-cycled statement pieces, was born and brought up in Birmingham, Alabama. The brand was launched in the fall of 2013, following a life-altering diagnosis that same year. During this difficult time, Daniel started experimenting with tie-dyeing his clothes in his mom's garage, discovering his innate talent for transforming garments into unique pieces.
“I have always loved fashion and knew I had a voice in this space but it wasn’t until launching SBDKG that I knew how to use my platform and voice for change to create a more inclusive space for creatives to be seen, heard, and take up space,” Daniel said.
Splashed by DKG became a way for Daniel to rediscover his passion for fashion, instilling him with confidence to leave his mark on the world. Celebrities such as: Syleena Johnson, Tamar Braxton, Prince Royce, and Anuel have all been spotted out making a Splash in custom looks by the designer. Splashed was also recently selected to compete on Fuse’s launch of “Upcycle Nation,” where designers from all over the country where chosen to compete for cash prizes as they created up-cycled looks from the most obscure objects. DKG won one out of the two challenges on his episode and the program was recently nominated for a GLAAD award for Outstanding Reality program - Competition.
As Splashed by DKG gained popularity, Daniel decided to make another "Splash" by creating a platform to showcase and support local creatives in Birmingham, Alabama. In 2017, he founded Magic City Fashion Week. Through MCFW, Daniel shares his journey, inspiring others to overcome struggles and use their voice to amplify the voices of others. One of these amplified voices, Kenya Buchanan, known for her bold use of color and dynamic silhouettes, has emerged from MCFW as a voice for women through tones of fabric. Crowned Emerging Designer winner of the inaugural MCFW and later showing during New York Fashion Week, Kenya utilizes prom and bridal gowns to bring life and color to every person she encounters. Each year, she accepts 20+ girls to design prom gowns for, who are then called her “Kenya Dolls” to display the interpersonal connection that can be made through fashion. Beyond designing the dress of their dreams, Kenya mentors the young women on how to lead a life of purpose beyond graduation. Further etching her influence on the city of Birmingham, she teaches sewing and fashion to young students that are passionate about bringing to life their inner artistry through design.
The second season of MCFW found itself a winner whose talent and passion made similar waves in the fashion community. Caléchie, a designer out of Alabama, takes custom streetwear to a level of empowering luxury and impeccable tailoring. This past February, Caléchie’s designs were adorned on none other than Beyonce, who was styled in a Caléchie custom by stylist KJ Moody.
Via @calechie on Instagram: "Our queen @beyonce in CALÉCHIE CUSTOM Thank you @kjmoody"
His designs have graced other icons like Cardi B and Ciara, who bring to life the exquisite sense of empowerment that Caléchie creates. Similar to the mission of MCFW, Caléchie gives designers and fashion enthusiasts alike the hope, inspiration, and energy necessary to shoot for the stars, and land.
Empowerment in the world of fashion is further exemplified in the designs of Aaliyah Taylor, last season's winner. Bringing her name, @exaltinginbeauty, to life, Aaliyah utilizes bright colors, bold patterns, and wearable designs to highlight the beauty around her.
“The inspiration behind my jewelry and fashion is non-conformity and freedom,” Aaliyah said. “When I create, my main goal and purpose is to create wearable art that defies what is deemed ‘normal’ – leading every person to feel unique and beautifully different in my designs. Each pair of earrings and every design that I create are purposed to bring joy and to enhance and exalt the unique beauty of God's creation.”
Aaliyah was able to showcase the artistry in her stylistic passion through the platform that MCFW gave her during last season's runway show. “Magic City Fashion Week was the catalyst to push me forward into dreams that were once deferred,” Aaliyah said. “It freed me from fear of self and gave me the space and voice to speak as LOUD as possible through my designs – no matter what fear and doubt spoke within me. Through The Legendary Academy, each guest as well as MCFW’s founder, Daniel, poured into me the confidence to be a steward of my gifts as well as the information to succeed as a savvy business owner.”
Today, Aaliyah continues to live in the creative freedom that she experienced last season, giving a fashionable voice to others that share in her doubt and fear. To Aaliyah, life is about living unapologetically bold.
“As of right now, I’m steadily working on elevating my jewelry, as well as creating my key fashion design components that I’ll start off selling on my website – with the hopes of creating size-inclusive wearable art for anyone willing to “take up space,” because that’s the season that i’m in: TAKING UP SPACE!” Aaliyah said.
As the world of fashion continues to evolve and expand, events like Magic City Fashion Week serve as a vital platform for emerging talent and fresh perspectives. With its dedication to promoting diversity, innovation, and creativity, Magic City Fashion Week is poised to make its mark on the fashion landscape for years to come. As the organization gears up to celebrate our fifth season, it is clear that its impact on the industry and the Magic City of Birmingham will only continue to grow. Stay in the know and follow the magic through subscribing to our newsletter, connecting to our Instagram and Facebook groups, and tuning to our exciting upcoming events! Supporting events and programming in our community is vital. Help us continue to amplify the magic makers and fashion creatives of the magic city. The Future is ours...SZN V news coming SOON!
photos courtesy of SubUrban Creative