An Open Letter to the magic City of Birmingham

This is a call to action. A plea to the City of Birmingham and the communities that form it to support our artists. No longer can we as creatives stand idly by, watching as our city grows in every way imaginable except in the realm of art, specifically fashion. We believe that there exists a misconception that fashion is merely self-serving. We also understand that some may say or feel that we have more important things to worry about. To those notions we submit Magic City Fashion Week, an organization founded in 2017 with the specific purpose of utilizing the platform that fashion presents to spread messaging and awareness about issues that affect our community, but often go under the radar. Issues like the increasing rate of HIV transmission that ranked Jefferson county 12th in the nation in 2016 for new cases of infection. No longer should the creative voice be dismissed as simply being for entertainment. We submit that it is a viable means of not only addressing tough issues, but stimulating local economies and building a sense of community. Fashion is a connector of people, industries, and commerce; But at the end of the day, we as the individuals who work to produce it, are artists who need the support and recognition of the community and city that we serve.

Birmingham was coined as the Magic City when it was discovered that it possessed all of the naturalresources required to produce one of the world’s strongest metals, steel. This discovery boosted the population and the city’s status as a major industrial hub. Now, the time has come for the Magic City to become a fashion mecca. It is our belief that we have all of the ingredients to build a creative fashion community here that is as strong as steel. Birmingham has always had the talent. We simply lackedprofessional platforms to showcase it on. If you look into the world of artists, you’ll be hard pressed notto find Birmingham natives in the mix. But so many of our own have had to move away to find success and support. Our goal is to alleviate that need for ourselves and the younger generation of creatives here. We want for them to know and feel that their passions are supported; and that their magic can be cultivated right here in their hometown.

We’ve laid the groundwork for building this community and we now request the support of our great city. What does support look like to us? It’s the opportunity to be at the table during conversations about how we move this city forward. It’s creatives having access to and being recognized by city officials. It’saccess to funding for creative events like Magic City Fashion Week and others like it that have a heart for and serve the community. We want for our designers, artists, stylists, photographers, etc. to be able to focus more on creating their art and less on having to create the platform to show it. Change is arguably the most essential component of growth. It takes the charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent to stand out and do something different. Our current administration has these qualities and the opportunity to push our city forward in a way that it has not been in the past, creatively and inclusively through fashion. We have a duty to be an example of what it means to be innovators to our youth, our state, our country, and to the world. In the words of director Ryan Murphy “We can all be trailblazers. All you have to do ispush through obstacles. [And] you have to take the hand of the person behind you and say: come on, wecan get up this hill together.” Birmingham, it’s time for us to get up this hill, TOGETHER!

Derek DeAndre & Daniel Grier

Founders, Magic City Fashion Week