Black On Black, a fundraiser for the Afro Prairie Film Festival, spotlights local black designers and models
By Stephanie Starodub
Winnipeg’s first ever fashion show fundraiser will hit the runway this Friday.
“I know a lot of mainstream modelling agencies in the city don’t feature many, if any, black models,” said Alexa Potashnik, 25. “There’s not a lot of diversity in the faces that are being promoted here. We want to change that.”
Potashnik is the founder of Black Space Winnipeg, a local organization which creates safe spaces for black Winnipeggers to share Afrocentric perspectives, while also raising awareness of issues facing people of colour in the city.
“The concept [of Black On Black] is simple,” said Potashnik. “Clothes by local black designers will be featured on local black models.”
While promoting black up-and-comers in the Winnipeg fashion community, the goal of the event is to raise funds for Black Space Winnipeg’s Afro Prairie Film Festival in 2019.
Black On Black will be hosted at Spade’s Lounge & Nightclub at 575 Portage Avenue.
Doors open at 6:00 p.m. with the fashion show running from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The night will conclude with a dance party with music curated by DJ Matt Henry. Guests are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes.
“Yes, it’s a fundraiser, but I also want to make this a fun and memorable experience for everyone,” said Potashnik.
In partnership with the Winnipeg Film Group’s Cinematheque, the Afro Prairie Film Festival will take place Feb. 22 to 24 during Black History Month in 2019. The festival acts as a creative platform for local and emerging black filmmakers across the country to gain exposure and tell visual stories with black narratives.
Money from Black On Black will specifically be put towards enhancing and expanding the amount of programming, workshops, and speakers featured during the festival.
“This year we are really looking to put more of an emphasis on education and professional development,” said Potashnik. “We want to get bigger international names from the industry to come to Winnipeg and offer their expertise to young people.”
Alliancé Kindja Bahati, 20, is one of the designers whose work will be featured in the Black On Black fashion show. She says she believes it’s important for black creators to have an outlet where they can share their work, no matter their artform.
“Media exposure and community support has really helped me develop my brand as a young designer,” she said. “Being discovered can seem daunting when you’re just starting out, especially as a black woman in a local industry that I find is heavily male.”
This will be the first time that Bahati has collaborated with other designers in a fashion show since the creation of her Afrocentric clothing line, Kindja Collections. Bahati’s reversible unisex jackets will work in conjunction with semi-formal outfits created by designer Domonique Stewart, 29.
“Domonique’s work is very high fashion,” said Bahati. “I’m excited to get to partner with her on this.”
Handbags by Randell Baldonado, 33, a local Filipino designer, will also be featured as accessories for each of the original outfits.
“We’re always looking to see how we can connect with other people of colour for our projects,” Potashnik said.
Tickets for Black On Black are $10 and can be purchased online at blackspacewpg.ca or at the door of Spade’s Lounge & Nightclub before the event.