The Johnson House Historic Site, a former Underground Railroad station, is hosting a Juneteenth Fashion Show in Germantown, Philadelphia. The show will feature classic designs dating back to the 1600s, including a skirt from the time of slavery. The event is being organized by fashion designer Naimah McCloud of Deur Naiu, who is also mentoring young people through her non-profit Deur Naiu Learning and Fashion Academy. McCloud enlisted students from the Murrell Dobbins Career and Technical Education High School to showcase their designs. The theme of the show is “freedom, enslavement, freedom,” and it aims to pay homage to Juneteenth, a day that celebrates freedom for all.
Philadelphia’s Johnson House Historic Site, which served as a stop on the Underground Railroad, will host a fashion show as part of the city’s 17th annual Juneteenth Festival in Germantown. The event will feature black fashion designers and models walking the runway, showcasing classic designs dating back to the 1600s.
The Juneteenth Fashion Show’s theme is “freedom, enslavement, freedom,” and designer Naimah Mccloud of Deur Naiu is among those who will be showcasing her work. Mccloud has been creating clothing and accessories for over 16 years, and when she’s not designing, she’s mentoring young people through her nonprofit Deur Naiu Learning and Fashion Academy.
Mccloud’s designs include a 1600s-themed skirt, which she hopes will help educate people about the struggles of the past. “It was important for me to be a part of it, present it,” she said. “I want the word to get out about what we’ve been through at that time.”
Mccloud also enlisted the help of students from the Murrell Dobbins Career and Technical Education High School to showcase their designs. The students were taught by Ms. Nadine Artist, who referred to them as “designers” from the moment they entered the program. “They are young. They are designers. When they come into the program, we call them designers,” Artist said.
The students’ designs pay homage to Juneteenth with a collection inspired by Kinta cloth. “The patterns and the fabrics are not the same as they were, but at least, we can pay homage to Juneteenth,” Artist said.
The Juneteenth Festival is a day to celebrate freedom for all, and the fashion show at the Johnson House Historic Site is just one way to honor the past while looking to the future. “Knowing that someone started out just as them and there are steps to getting there,” Mccloud said of the young designers she mentored, “but keep your dreams alive because they can do it.”
Juneteenth is a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that the Civil War had ended and that all slaves were free. The holiday has been celebrated in African American communities since then and is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in most states.
The fashion show at the Johnson House Historic Site is just one of many events taking place in Philadelphia and across the country to celebrate Juneteenth. From parades and concerts to art exhibits and film screenings, there are many ways to honor the past and look to the future on this important day.
As we celebrate Juneteenth and the end of slavery in the United States, it’s important to remember the struggles of the past and the work that still needs to be done to ensure that all people are free and equal. Events like the Juneteenth Fashion Show help to educate and inspire us as we continue to fight for justice and equality for all.