“It’s an ode to what BET did in the early 2000s." Portland-based celebrity hair and makeup artist Abibat Durosimi is talking about her upcoming Rip the Runway fashion show—one that’s equal parts fashion, music, and celebration, with musicians right in the middle of the runway. "I want it to feel like you're going to a high-end Hollywood awards show, so when you come in you're hit with the swag of it: the fashion, the music, the people, the energy. I think it’ll be different than Portland has ever seen before.”
It's an ambitious vision, but Durosimi has created a lineup for the May 18 show that backs up her goals. Three pairs of local designers and musicians will come together at the Iron Fireman Collective for a triple act of women's and menswear collections. Jean Pierre Nugloze’s line N’kossi will send out models walking to beats from Senegalese artist I$$A and wearing fantastically tailored jackets, dresses and suits using traditional textiles from Togo. MC Raquel Divar will be the live sound track for designer Palani Bear Ghost’s streetwear line No End of Clothing. To wrap up the show, designer Jordan Jackson is collaborating with stylist Jason Murphy and graphic designer Rob Lewis for a special collection set to artist Easy McCoy. (You might recognize McCoy's debut song "Déjà vu" from the dramatic Fresh Prince of Bel Air trailer that went viral—much to Will Smith’s delight.)
Beyond a general party vibe, Durosimi is also aiming to amp up value for those splurging for VIP tickets. Above a front row seat and private bar access, Rip VIPS can access to what seems like an event within an event—including a full beauty bar with custom press on nails and onsite lash extensions, healthy cooking demos from from Feed the Mass’s chef Jacob Valentine alongside the canapés and drinks, and first crack at discounted shopping racks from the participating designers. VIPs will also be queued up for marked-down tickets to the rest of Durosimi’s events for the year—plus the usual swag bag, fancy seat, and early entry.
Durosimi says she’s been working on the concept for Rip the Runway—one of the many events produced under her Bloom Beauty Collective umbrella—since her days of touring with Prince as the traveling hair and makeup artist for his dancers. Coming back to Portland in 2016 after that incredible experience left her wanting to do more, and help other people achieve their dreams. “I've been behind the scenes for so long in Portland,” she says about aiming to lift up the POC community with her events. “Things can become redundant because we stay in this box of community and we're not branching out to other people. My whole goal is definitely to bring more awareness, so that more people of color are part of this movement of fashion and music. Why not highlight them and make sure that they have a platform to present themselves?”
7:30 p.m. Sat, May 18, Iron Fireman Collective, $50–100 (includes afterparty entrance, which is $20 ala carte)