Designer Darrell Cortez had us thinking not only about clothes earlier this past month during New York Fashion Week. He had us thinking about revolution. Revolution within the fashion world, that is. Cortez, below, is urging a sea-change within the fashion industry, for sure, and the clothes from his Revolution collection for Spring/Summer 2015, showed during an evening gallery-turned-runway presentation, underscored a striking, thought-provoking dialogue.
“My inspiration comes from the colors of the South African flag — red, blue, yellow, green, black and white,” Cortez told journalist Ray Cornelius. “These colors are reflected all throughout the entire collection including the accessories, the shoes, the clothes, trimming, and patches. It’s spring and summer looks, so I use a lot of bright colors which make it very youthful and vibrant. My show is a social commentary on the lack of representation of African-Americans in the fashion industry across the board.”
Building upon those South African-inspired colors, using African prints, crisp cottons and easy-to-wear silhouettes, the collection included the coolest contemporary printed suit, a denim knit jumpsuit – the perfect pull-on “suit” for daywear – and swimwear that was bright, color-blocked and sexy. As a fashion industry stalwart since the early ’90s, Cortez has worked with many big-name entertainers, and these were great clothes for the likes of Diddy, Busta Rhymes and Mack Wilds. But Cortez’s biggest underlying theme this season? “Working in the industry for as long as I have,” Cortez said, “you never lose sight of the underrepresentation of Black models. Trust me, there are still more barriers that need to be broken down. I am not anti-White, but I am pro-Black.”
Strong collection. Even stronger message.