BK Style Foundation (BKSF) is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2004 with the goal of showcasing talented artists who live or work in Brooklyn. BKSF’s mission is to assist emerging and underprivileged designers in honing their talent and/or growing their business by creating opportunities for them to present their work to the public. Although most strongly associated with the fashion design industry, BKSF recently expanded their vision to include the visual arts, too. On Saturday, June 26, 2021, BKSF will host a “Design Trail” art-walk event at Kings Plaza Mall between the hours of 12pm and 4pm. This event will feature storefront window displays at the mallwhich have been beautified by fashion and art installation.
The June 26th commencement will include an opportunity to meet the creators and creatives who designed the windows and even win prizes; the grand prize is a box that contains original creations from each one of the artists who designed a window for the showcase. According to the official press release:
To participate in the design trail, you must arrive in Center Court (Level 1) by 1PM SHARP to receive a map and passport. Then, take the passport to each window display on the map to view the designs and have it signed by the Creatives. Next, bring your fully signed passport to Center Court (Level 1) by 2PM SHARP, for a small gift and to be entered into a raffle for a chance to win more prizes. One passport per person. While supplies last.
This project is part of BKSF’s Community Development Fashion & Arts (Design Trail); an initiative that provides small to midsize Brooklyn–and overall NY creators and creatives communities, including artists, designers, and organizations that collaborate to make quality fashion/arts projects for schools, arts education residencies, corporations, art galleries and public spaces. The goal of the Community Development Fashion & Arts initiative is to provide communities with quality fashion and arts programming and to utilize the experience of the BKSF staff and partnerships to ensure that the presentation of the project will be successful. Skills gained from the professional development are transferable and will allow the organizations/brands to plan and implement a comprehensive series of future arts events in our communities. The artists included in the window display project include:
- Victor Pearlman– upcycle clothing made from furniture (Grandma Couch)
- Digital (Technology) – by Digital Fashion Week– lead by Clare of Thunderlily
- Vintage X Sustainability- by Sustainable Fashion Week
- Art Gangby Voodofe (the spot for art)
- Pride Window (LGBTQ) lead by Claire Fleury
- Sparti Scents–- A Revolution In Fragrance by CEO, Abby Wallach
- Art is Healing – featuring Kortez of Esoteric Urbanism& Edgartistas & The spot for Art
- Meet your Neighbors (picture display) by Shawn Punch
- Mask Up – display of face mask by 5M Masks(curated by Chris Agosto of FWBK)
- Save our Planet (Over Consumption Kills) – lead by Patrick Duffy of GFX Global Fashion Exchange & House Of BAV& Rosina-Mae with Wearable Collections
- Young Sustainable Designer – Sayoko Creations& Fairy Flair
Rick Davy is the Founder and Director of BKSF and the Creative Director and Producer of Fashion Week Brooklyn (FWBK). Rick is originally from Trinidad and spent years traveling between New York and Montreal while training to be a professional dancer. Rick eventually became a full-time assistant manager in the Tisch School of the Arts film department and subsequently studied photography and film production. This led him to serve as a production manager on music videos, including some by hip hop legends Jay-Z and Big Daddy Kane. From there, Rick became increasing interested in fashion, and he started photograph the portfolios of several professional models. During these shoots, Rick often selected the clothes that were worn. He then started to attend classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
In 1998, Rick met Wendy Fitzwilliam, a fellow Trinidadian and Miss Universe, for whom he became a stylist. This led him to serve as a stylist for other Miss Universe—as well as other beauty pageant winners—too. His work in the pageantry industry enabled him to travel to Greece, Paris, London, Barcelona, Switzerland and Germany and several Caribbean Islands. During this time, Rick also served as the Creative Director and Fashion Consultant for numerous clothing brands. Later, he turned his attention to publishing and worked as a director for numerous national and international magazines and curating fashion shows. These experiences granted him the attention of CBS who hired him as a stylist for their talk show “Forgive and Forget” starring Mother Love. From there, Rick landed a job as a stylist for the Black Entertainment Television (BET) show “106th and Park” where he was responsible for dressing hosts AJ Calloway and Free for many years.
Rick Davy’s incredible success in both the fashion and entertainment industries gave him the opportunity to launch the BK Style Foundation in May 2006. At that time, the first Fashion Week Brooklyn show was held in DUMBO at the Tobacco Warehouse to astounding revues and a full page spread in the NY Times–which was a first-of-its-kind for a Fashion Week Event in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Magazine even named Rick Davy as one of the top 100 influencers of Brooklyn. Now in its fifteenth year, Fashion Week Brooklyn is hailed as a top-five show in the fashion world (among shows that are not sponsored by Mercedes Benz).
Rick Davy is very partial to the artistry and diversity found in Brooklyn, the borough where he presently resides. He enjoys partnering with other artists to create opportunities to celebrate fashion and bringing art and design to the public. Free events in spaces such as the Kings Plaza Mall truly help to realize his mission by supporting the careers of countless emerging designers and creative talents by raising awareness about their creations.
The “Design Trail” at Kings Park Plaza is the premiere event in a fledgling initiative that Rick Davy hopes to make citywide; he is currently collaborating with Patrick Duffy of Global Fashion Exchange (GFX) to create a similar project in the World Trade Center and other areas of Manhattan. Rick arranged for the design trail to kickstart at the Kings Plaza via relationships he had established with the marketing department at that specific mall. The project is about keeping the arts alive in innovative ways during the pandemic and incorporating the community into the events which aim to bring joy, brightness, color, and creativity to otherwise empty shop windows.
“Designers need to network, and they need exposure,” Rick Davy said in a recent interview and noted that sustainability is a big component of his brand; he even partnered with Materials for the Arts (MFTA) to help artists acquire the items needed to create their fabulous window displays. “We need to fill empty store spaces and keep the city beautiful,” he continued. “Art makes people feel better.”
Rick is also very education-focused and believes in creating opportunities for youths–especially low-income youths–to be exposed to the arts and fashion. He frequently works with middle school, high school, and college students (some of whom reside in homeless shelters) through sustainable workshops offered by BK Style Academy. During the Covid pandemic, these classes were conducted online–and more are planned for the Summer of 2021. For instance, “Sustainable 101” is launching in July as a free 7-week long online zoom workshop directed at high school students from New York City and Houston, Texas. The teens will explore the emerging art of sustainable fashion and develop social awareness and responsibility as well as STEAM skills and a cultural exchange experience. In addition to promoting the awareness of sustainable environmental practices, another long-term goal is to increase the representation of historically underrepresented Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) in the fashion industry. An open call to sign up students can be found here.
Rick is also excited about the forthcoming “Project Warehouse: Young Designers Competition” which will take place in New York, at the Materials for the Arts warehouse, and feature twenty-five high school and college students (aged 15 to 25) who will compete to make the best outfits possible from the upcycled materials that they find. The winner will be awarded a cash prize as well as the opportunity to display their original fashion designs on the runways of New York Fashion Week in 2022. The competition will be filmed for YouTube and pitched as a television pilot to major TV networks. To learn more, see here.
Rick is extremely grateful for the wonderful teachers that he employs and the network of artists who he has gathered to work with. For now, his primary focus is on the June 26th Design Trail event at Kings Plaza and a “Rooftop Party” event on July 10th in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, that will provide attendees with the opportunity to meet designers and purchase their products between the hours of 4pm and 7pm. More details will follow via the BKSF website and social media pages.
“Brooklyn is such an important area of New York, especially when it comes to the emergence of street style clothing which has really shaped the industry throughout the years,” Rick declared. “Manhattan adopts these styles, but the outer boroughs like Brooklyn start them and those young designers need to be recognized and their creativity encouraged and fostered.”
To learn more, visit the BK Style Foundation website and the website of Kings Plaza Mall. A link to the window display can be seen on the BK Style website and the website of their partner the Global Fashion Exchange (GFX).