'Hatitude' at New York Fashion Week
Garfene Grandison, Gleaner Writer
Gone are the days when hats were either black or white and worn only to church and funerals. In a country with an ever-changing fashion landscape, the hat is back. Karl Brown, a one-time business administrator, recently showcased on a stage that many designers only dream of - New York Fashion Week. He refers to the experience as 'ripping and running' in Manhattan in an effort to get from one show to the next.
"The showcase", Brown stated "was mind-blowing. There was a lot of appreciation for the product." He acknowledged one particular incident when a designer who sews for Mary J Blige, Mike Eastwick, was so impressed with his pieces that he used a few to showcase in his runway collection.
In arriving at a theme for the New York Fashion Week collection, the one constant on Brown's mind was that it was the big stage so it was now time to "show who you really are and go over the top". Being conservative might have worked on other shows but this was now New York Fashion Week.
How it happened
The million dollar question then would be, "How did he manage to get on one of the most talked about fashion showcases? He confessed to Flair that he was in New Jersey for a church convention when one of the organisers of Guyana Fashion Week (where he showed before), asked him if he wanted to do a show in New York called Caribbean Extravaganza, to which he agreed. While at that show he met with representatives from Top 10 Model Management, who later sent him information about New York Fashion Week.
Preparing for New York took many sleepless nights and a few sacrifices, not just financially but personally. "At the time, I still had a nine-to-five and it caused me to sacrifice living a normal life with family and friends," Brown told Flair. He continued, "My life became the machine on which I sew my pieces. I had to give up family time and it came at a cost monetarily, but thankfully the Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS) was instrumental as they subsidised the registration fee of US$1,000," he concluded.
His eyes steadily set on the catwalks of Milan within the next three years, Brown notes that New York Fashion Week has been a very humbling experience, considering that he has been doing this for less than two years.
Currently seeking a store to broaden his millinery skills, he has sized up his competition pretty well. "There are a few milliners around, but I don't see them as competitors because I think we all have our own unique styles and our own market share. Put it this way, we all have a piece of the pie to eat."
For more information about the pieces Karl Brown, can be reached at 862-8081.
You can also check out his new website at : khalilshatitude.com.