Kenneth Cole has been a New York City staple for almost 40 years. Equally, African-American culture has been a part of American culture for generations, offering a plethora of influences we know, recognize and love today. Kenneth Cole is supporting the influences of African-Americans and Black culture with a Holiday pop-up.
The Fashion industry veteran and staple, Kenneth Cole, has served as Áwet Woldegebrial’s mentor in building the “livewear” label Áwet New York since its inception. Woldegebrial is the son of a 30-year veteran tailor who owned a retail store in Eritrea. Migrating from East Africa during a regional war, Woldegebriel and his family found asylum in the U.S., founding his Awet New York label in 2020. His namesake is rooted in his culture, ‘Áwet’ meaning ‘victory’ in a native Eritrean language known as Tigrinya.
Áwet New York is a black, refugee-founded lifestyle brand partnering with Kenneth Cole to host a Holiday Pop-Up highlighting black-owned small businesses from December 17 to 19. Kenneth Cole has harbored and supported the Awet label and its founder as part of its overall mission. Cole says, “Áwet is a talented designer who is also a good friend and fellow activist. Our personal values, and those of our brands, are aligned and it has been great watching him build his business.”
The holiday pop-up will feature ten of these small-black owned businesses that represent culture through the African diaspora lens and around the globe. In addition to Áwet New York, participating brands will include Adey-Abeba, founded by former model and activist Maron Mamo, Mckenzie Liautaud, a precious gems jewelry designer, Adolophine, focusing on bringing African artisanal craftsmanship to the world through luxury, and ready-to-wear from Marco Hall. There is also Royal Jelly Harlem, African-inspired clothing and home decor, Kristian Lorén Lopez womenswear, JULIAN JOSEPH KYLE who works from African-American history, jewelry by Don’t Let Disco, and 2•4•1 Cosmetics by Eritrean refugees Feven & Helena Yohannes.
“Supporting young-talent is something I am proud to be able to do, and I am grateful to have our store space that we can offer up in support for these black-owned businesses and to hopefully connect them with consumers this Holiday season,” says Cole of the curated list of designers and brands.
Sharing East African lineage with the Áwet New York label, brands 2•4•1Cosmetics and Adey-Abeba are directly calling back their brand to their roots and bringing awareness to the natural beauty found and developed on the continent. Mckenzie Liautaud is a Haitian-American jewelry designer who works with precious gems. He has been infusing his experiences traveling around the world into his crafted pieces.
Each brand presents a variation of what the African continent has offered the world of fashion and beauty. The Holiday pop-up shop is located at the Kenneth Cole store on Bond street at 328 Bowery, New York, NY. The event takes place from 12 pm – 6 pm, from the 17 to the 19 of December 2021.
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