By Micha Green
The inaugural Kids Fashion Week DMV, held April 12-14, celebrated the style, skills and “slays” of youth in the Washington Metropolitan area, and allowed designers who specialize in children’s clothing to showcase their work on the runway.
Kids Fashion Week DMV, co-founded by movers and shakers, Akilah Clark, Crystal Davis and Auntea Marie, is a nonprofit organization that places an emphasis on the success of talented children by being, “for kids and by kids.”
“We are focused on assisting professional kids meet their entertainment-based career goals by providing development and exposure opportunities,” according to a statement sent to the AFRO by Auntea Marie, publicist, producer and co-founder of Kids Fashion Week DMV.
Per its mission to give exposure to youth, Kids Fashion Week DMV offered programming throughout the weekend to allow children and their parents to network with entertainment industry professionals, including performers, models, designers, photographers and members of the media.
Kids Fashion Week DMV kicked off with the “Next Level Networking Ice Cream Social,” at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, 1925 14th Street N.W. There, attendees were treated to an unlimited ice cream party.
Further perpetuating the desire to give back, day two of Kids Fashion Week DMV hosted “Work Hard, Play Hard,” which offered free workshops for young people interested in entertainment at the Patrick Henry Rec Center in Alexandria, VA. Some of the workshops included, media training, creative writing, sewing, fashion design, acting and brand development, and students were further entertained with contests, giveaways, food, music and performances.
Under the theme, “Fierce and Fancy,” Sunday’s runway show was the highlight of the Kids Fashion Week DMV experience, where young people strutted, sashayed and slayed the catwalk.
The talented kids modeled fashions from local and national brands and even featured 6-year-old, Gabrielle Loftin, designer of Gabby’s World.
The runway show was hosted by Real Housewives of Potomac star, Ashley Darby. As Darby gears up for motherhood, she added a fabulous maternal touch to the runway show as she shared funny anecdotes about her pregnancy, celebrated the talented children and highlighted the importance of Kids Fashion Week DMV.
“I am 30 years old and I’m really still discovering what I want to do. So to see young people who are so motivated and so inspired to pursue their passion is quite frankly very inspiring for me too,” Darby told the crowd.
Other talented kids highlighted included 13-year-old ballerina Nya; Winter Noel, who started a prayer blanket and is working to collect 10,000 squares all with various topics to pray about; 6-year-old photographer Myles and 13-year-old kidprenuer Kamryn “Kam” Keys, founder of Sweet Kam, a mobile concessions which allows her to sell cotton candy, snowballs and a creation she calls “Kreffels,” which is a custom-made, non-fried waffle dessert.
Darby interviewed Steve Harvey’s Little Big Shots star, Brianne James, also known as “America’s Youngest Reporter.” In her interview with Darby, James, who showcased her skills as a correspondent on the Kids Fashion Week DMV blue carpet, shared her career aspirations.
“First of all actress, maybe singer, maybe model, maybe dancer if I can. I’m hoping to be a MIT graduate,” James said to the crowd who roared and cheered as she shared her ambitions.
After the runway show, the AFRO caught up with some of the young talent at Kids Fashion Week DMV.
Fifth grader Malaysia Hylton shared that although she had done fashion shows in the past, she was overjoyed to participate in a major event such as Kids Fashion Week DMV.
“It feels amazing, just knowing that you can actually do it,” Hylton told the AFRO. “You see people in the newspapers and how they do it, and you just imagine yourself doing it, and now it came true.”
“It was a fun and a good experience,” nine-year-old Empress Giddings told the AFRO. “It feels great.”
Giddings, who has ripped the runway since she was five, had words of encouraging words for children interested in professional modeling careers.
“They shouldn’t be shy and they will do a great job.”
This article originally appeared in The Afro.