First All-African American Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

By Ashley Chambers

Designer Nina Skarra (left) and Tai Chunn, CEO of MVC Management Productions.

Nina Skarra (left) and Monique Tatum, CEO of Beautiful Planning & PR.

Five beautiful models who participated in the Nina Skarra Spring 2013 runway show. Photos by Desbas Group.

For the first time in the history of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Tai Chunn and his company MVC Management Productions led an all African American production team in the Nina Skarra Spring 2013 runway show. Presented at the Lincoln Center Avery Fisher Hall in New York Sept. 8, the show was Skarra’s debut at the fashion week and the first to represent a Scandinavian designer. Chunn has managed runway shows at New York Fashion Week, BET’s “Rip the Runway,” Victoria’s Secret fashion show, Emerge! Fashion Showcase, and many other events over his 15-year career. This season he took the opportunity to spotlight Skarra to IMG, noticing a lack of Scandinavian presence in New York fashion. Debuting her brand in one of the fashion capitals, Skarra’s eco friendly line showcased classic shorts and pants suits, chic dresses, and glamorous gowns in blush, sky blue, and ivory hues. Celebs Lil Kim, Angela Simmons, celebrity stylist June Ambrose, and William Beatty of the NY Giants sat front row as Skarra styled the runway with her Scandinavian designs. Backstage, Chunn and Monique Tatum, CEO of Beautiful Planning Marketing & PR (BPMPR), were putting their creative whims to work making a big impact in fashion production. “We see Tracy Reese, Rachel Roy and all other African American designers, Willi Smith, but we didn’t see production that way,” said Chunn. “We never were able to be the Kelly Cutrones running the front of house, back of house, press. I wanted to make that stereotype go away. [This] gave them insight-we’re all equal, we all have the same work ethic, same strengths, same fortitude, and same foresight.” Tatum, whose company BPMPR worked the public relations and front of house management for the show, said, “It is extremely difficult to break down all walls within the fashion industry. However, once you are there it is much more difficult to prove that you deserve your spot. We have not only proven it, we have shown that we are a force to be reckoned with.” Sponsors of the event included MVC Management Productions, Beautiful Planning Marketing & PR, Soft Sheen Carsons Dark & Lovely, Lamik Beauty, Katherine Lindman, Pink Rooster Studios, The Desbas Group, 3Eleven Creative, 1800 Coconut, Sign Expo, Keymanna Management, Fumi’s Fashion Files, and Brody & Branch LLP.
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