Fashion, film, and style go hand in hand. How you dress an actor can contribute as much to the character as the performance itself. Actress Tasha Smith made that point and insisted to her wardrobe staff that her favorite designer Byron Lars be included in her costumes when she worked on the show For Better Or Worse. This was all a part of the panel discussion hosted by Brandice Daniel of Harlem's Fashion Row at the American Black Film Festival over the weekend.
Harlem's Fashion Row has been an advocate for emerging talent in fashion for people of color. The organization also celebrates those who have achieved success as an inspiration for others to follow. The panel discussion asked Tasha Smith (now co-starring on one of my favorite style-centric shows Empire) about overcoming obstacles, using what makes you unique and supporting others to succeed with you.
Fashion designer Byron Lars discussed the hard work and perseverance it took to get the most prestigious retailers to make appointments and carry his collection. In the end, good product and incredible design are what ultimately hooked fans like Michelle Obama, the Smith sisters, the Kardashians, celebrities from Angela Bassett to Elle Fanning to Paris Hilton to love his looks.
He had a mini presentation of his favorite looks from the current season. I loved the sexy, multi-cultural edge that the models were styled with, using handmade necklaces from Sheila Gray and shoes from Machi Footwear.
Winning in the entertainment and fashion industry is tough enough. Entering these fields as a minority in any form is even tougher. The lesson learned from today is to find good people to support you and great people to mentor you.