Multi-hyphenate doesn’t even begin to cover it. Brandice Daniel does it all. You might know her for her work as founder and CEO of Harlem’s Fashion Row or as an advisory council member of the Social Justice Center at FIT. Brandice has been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, and dozens of other outlets. She’s pioneering the future of fashion. And her advice for those looking to make a career in the industry themselves? “Find an area you’re passionate and curious about. Follow that curiosity by taking on jobs in that area or volunteering. Give maximum effort and continue to move forward in this way.” In her true fashion, she assures that, “you’ll land exactly where you are supposed to be.”
An alumna of FIT herself, Brandice will receive the Outstanding FIT Alumni Award for her work this spring at the FIT Annual Awards Gala on April 13th. Her role in bringing the Social Justice Center at FIT to life emphasizes the center’s mission, which means "access to education, relationships, and financial resources for future BIPOC creatives,” she shares. “The Center signals a pivotal change in the fashion and retail pipeline that hopefully results in a more equitable industry.” In 2020, Brandice founded ICON360, a nonprofit dedicated to funding designers of color, which has granted over $1.6 million in funding. The nonprofit’s inception was at the height of the pandemic, when it offered relief to designers of color and HBCUS who were pivoting their businesses to remain profitable. The goal? To "eradicate the inequities challenging Black designers and HBCU fashion departments." Today, ICON360 has built an endowment that funds grants and offers educational programming that includes financial and professional support from industry leaders.
Brandice Daniel values new designers with a heart for their work. “I look for designers who have a clear vision, incredible product, great visual story,” she says. Brands under her tutelage have gone on to mega success, see in action thanks to her stint on Project Runway. Designers Charles Harbison of Harbison Studio, Shawn Pean of June79, Tier, and Johnathan Hayden were all recipients of ICON360 grants in 2021. When it comes to lessons learned in building successful enterprises like HFR and ICON360, Brandice speaks to the power of consistency and persistence. “Everyone may not understand your vision at first,” she shares, “but if it’s a strong conviction for you, keep going.”
And one way to keep going is to find a mentor in your prospective industry, which Brandice champions openly. “Finding a mentor requires a servant’s heart,” she shares. “You have to find someone who you think can provide you with the wisdom you need, then find ways to serve them. Eventually, they will look up and say, what can I do for you?” As for her title as "Insta-Coach," Brandice regularly features up and coming designers on her platform, as well as her life with her family, and other helpful videos on building a career. Topics range from unplugging to how to stay consistent. But the resounding theme is clear: Nothing beats authenticity.
Read on for some of our favorite pieces from brands who’ve benefited from Brandice Daniel’s brilliance.
BR X Harbison
A collaboration between Banana Republic and Charles Harbison, this brand gives elevated elegance in sweeping shapes and unexpected colorways. Harbison says the collection was "inspired by the strong women he grew up around and still surrounds himself with."
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Centered around women's suiting, Kimberly Goldson is a brand for those who refuse to be intimidated by bold colors or maximalist silhouettes. She's beloved for her floor length gowns that feel at once wearable and collectable.
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Founded under the motto “Art Never Dies” in 2014 by Nigeria Ealey, Esaïe Jean Simon and Victor James, Tier represents "the ever-changing growth of creativity." Every piece encapsulates this special attention to detail—elevating basics to outfit-making standouts.