Inside Issa Rae’s Travel-Inspired Fashion Show With Delta Airlines

We might know Issa Rae as an actor, writer and comedian, namely for her roles in Insecure and Vengeance, or for directing her latest HBO Max series, Rap Sh!t.

Now, she’s a fashion curator, of sorts, having created a runway show for Los Angeles Fashion Week, which is being reimagined by N4XT Experiences.

Rae chose six indie fashion companies—from a shoe brand to swimwear—to showcase fashion for the modern jet setter. She presented them last night in an airport hangar in Hawthorne, California with Delta.

“My collaboration with Delta’s Runway, Runway campaign, is about more than showcasing the travel-inspired collections from these six unique, creative designers,” Issa Rae said.

“It’s about elevating their stories, each deeply rooted in the belief that there is comfort in human connections, strength in being present, and inspiration to be found in the adventures we embark on.”

Last night she explained to the audience she wanted to bring these limited-edition clothes and accessories by six businesses she is happy to back. “It is such a pleasure to spend time with them,” she told the audience. “Everything these designers made, are inspired by their own travels around the world—from China to Ghana, New York City, to Miami. Let’s see what kind of inspiration you draw from them.”

The brands include clothing brand Oyster, the stylish Ember Niche Eyewear, as well as Ponto Footwear, swimwear brand Ana Mero Swim, accessory brand Cadence Toiletry Kits and Classic Six Capsule Wardrobes.

“This project has been a dream in the making for us, we’re thrilled to partner with Issa Rae, and we want to connect people with experiences, and we believe in elevating small businesses, so it was a natural fit for us to partner with Issa,” said Delta’s managing director of brand marketing, Emmakate Young.

For the designers, it’s important to think outside of the box, especially to Ana Mero Swim designer, Ana Mero. “Designing for inclusivity is a lot different than including inclusivity,” said Mero. “In a field of expression like fashion, its so important to include everyone, and empower them. We push that narrative and challenge the industry, as well, so we can make a difference collectively.”

To Cadence Toiletry Kit founder Steph Hon, the small containers she has created are customizable, leak-proof, and stylish. “It’s always good when you create something you need yourself,” said Hon.

“These are leak-proof and they have rounded edges, so they’re easy to clean. They’re perfect for people like myself, who travel with a lot of skin creams but want to still bring small portions with them onto carry on luggage, without compromising their daily routines.”

To Ponto Footwear, they’re trailblazing the next wave of “workleisure” footwear. “We need things to fit into our lifestyle, and consume less,” says Ponto Footwear founder, Aaron Roubitchek.

This sustainable footwear brand “dress sneakers” use an all-natural sugarcane foam in their soles (and are super lightweight). “It’s gender balanced and it helps us live more with less.”

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with Issa Rae for this Delta runway show, said Roubitchek. “Everything Issa Rae does is not about what’s normative in the industry, it’s about not accepting the status quo,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to do in the world of fashion and footwear. Delta was the bridge between those two things.”

What about creating flat footwear for women flight attendants? It is 2022, after all. “We have a lot of ideas,” said Roubitchek. “We design footwear the way workwear is done, and we’ve created a super useful shoe. We’re looking to align with Delta to be their uniform of choice. The possibilities are endless.”

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