The phrase “two world wars” to many Americans represents World War I and II. To a fashion organization in Atlanta, those three words mean something more.
Young Atlanta is an organization that, from their website, “serves as a creative catalyst that motivates teens and young adults to excel in art, design, music and fashion.”
Every year, Young Atlanta hosts a fashion show that allows young creators and designers to showcase their work on a runway. This year’s show was titled “Two World Wars.” The main theme of the production was the Tuskegee Airmen. Attendees of the show were encouraged to wear attire and colors that matched the military and the role that the Tuskegee Airmen played in World War II.
Though the show’s focus was on the Tuskegee Airmen, many of the designs shown weren’t representative of the military. Each look showcased the designers’ latest collections. A few of them brought out the personal roots behind each creator, which is really what the organization is about.
The whole show displayed the work of 18 Black designers, and there were over 100 models all ranging in age and race. Attendance surpassed 700 people, according to the creator of the organization.
Charles, who professionally goes by Hollyandroo, is the founder of Young Atlanta. He started the company when he was 18. Now, at the age of 29, he has hosted 11 fashion shows. The CEO, Hollyandroo, is a designer himself who showcased some of his work in the show, but he also considers himself a storyteller.
“I love to tell stories about Black history and African history. I was born in Africa; I consider myself African. I was raised in America, so I also consider myself Black American so I deal with the same issues you all deal with. I feel like I was brought into this world to tell stories through my heart,” said the CEO.
The fashion show did tell a story, not just through the clothes.
At times, a track would play that would give the audience history behind the involvement of Black people in the war and the Tuskegee Airmen.
“Did you know, it took our military a year into the war to come up with the bright idea that Black men could possibly fly a plane? And as the war continued for another year, our great and mighty Red Tails were finally established in the ranks on March 19, 1941, under the leadership of first appointed Black general, Benjamin O. Davis,” said the track voiced by Jamari Wise.
The title of the show “Two World Wars” does not directly refer to both world wars. Instead, the phrase carries this meaning:
“It was then that the Red Tails knew two wars were to be fought. One that would end, and one that would continue as long as they’re present in their skin,” said the track.
Year after year, Young Atlanta continues to share Black history and creativity with successful fashion shows independently without any sponsors.
A message the CEO left with the audience is to never take no for an answer.