NEW YORK, NY — It’s finally really starting to feel like Spring — just in time for Earth Day! Over the last 45 years (since the birth of the eco-friendly holiday), millions of people have worked together to help save our planet. From peaceful demonstrations to social media campaigns, the methods of spreading awareness have expanded. NYC-based creative agency, Beau Monde Society (BMS) has taken a more stylish approach with their own eco-collective. Last Friday, BMS presented their 3rd annual art and fashion installation, Fashion Envie, at the beautiful and spacious Lightbox in NYC.
Each year, Fashion Envie highlights a specific environmental theme. Titled “Warm Bodies,” this year’s show was focused on global warming. “I wanted to create a presentation that reflected where I was at in life, as far as me becoming more conscious in everything I do,” Nnamani told me. In just three years, the collective has already made some serious upgrades. “The first two installations — the first one was in the basement, the second one was in the gallery district and now we are in the middle of the fashion district. Fashion Envie is growing with Beau Monde; before there was a Beau Monde, there was Fashion Envie. You’ve been here for the first one so you know how far Fashion Envie has come!” In a creative exploration of sustainable fashion, environmental awareness, and digital engagement, Fashion Envie offered an art reception and a designer presentation.
The art portion was an interactive showcase of the “Warm Bodies” editorial, which was created by BMS founder and director Jennifer Nnamani, and was recently featured in Elle South Africa. The editorial, which includes gorgeous images of models donning recyclable garb in open nature spaces, was projected onto the walls as a slideshow. I watched as I sipped on a yummy green smoothie, courtesy of the healthy cocktail bar.
The fashion half of the show featured three ethical designers ( Adrina Nelson, Alita Daniels, and Robin Shumays) as well as a surprise collection from Nnamani. The theme may have been singular but the work presented offered multiple interpretations of global warming. Nelson’s Virgin Waters x Adrina Fanore was most inspired by earthy tones and grunge. Daniels’ Silly Simone collection focused on the colors of nature. Shumays realized the effects of global warming saying, “When I found out about the concept, I thought, ‘As global warming increases, the world will get smaller and smaller and the world will get more crowded in.’” Her collection consists of repurposed kimonos and saris, along with blended colors, prints and textures.
Nnamani’s design debut, a line titled Lady George, was not solely based on Fashion Envie’s theme but also her personal style and heritage. The cool-chic collection, which Nnamani designed while back home in Nigeria, features casual loose fits with tailored accents. “Growing up my mom used to dress me in a lot of constricting clothing and I didn’t like it at all,” Nnamani explained. “I just love loose clothes. The trends were inspired by nature, of course, and warmth and love and everything good and pure. These are pieces that reflect my personality and my style.”
Producing a show while designing a collection and maintaining a creative brand is tough work, no doubt. Nnamani’s excellence is a true testament to self-empowerment. As we chatted after the show, Nnamani discussed some of the challenges she overcame to make the night a success. “I had to wear like 10-15 hats. I lost count after getting designers together, getting models together, getting the team together. I really learned a lot about myself during this process. I found out I could video edit. I found out I could do a lot, really. I’m just so happy that everything came together. It really has strengthened my faith.” Nnamani also shared some inspirational advice to every and anyone with a major goal. “Life inspires me. God inspires me. Beauty inspires me. The “Warm Bodies” editorial — before the shoot even started I said I want it to be in Elle South Africa. Really speaking my dreams into reality is the biggest thing for me. Seeing this happen reminds me that I can do this. Anyone out there, don’t doubt yourself. Once doubt creeps in, everything falls apart.”
Learn more about Jennifer Nnamani and Beau Monde Society:
Images: Courtesy of Garrett Holmes for Beau Monde Society unless otherwise stated.