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Meet Aaliyah Taylor, named Birmingham’s Top Emerging Fashion Designer

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Aaliyah Taylor after she was announced winner of the 2022 MCFW Emerging Designer Competition. (Ameera Steward, For The Birmingham Times)

By Ameera Steward

For The Birmingham Times

With a bold fashion collection designed to make a statement, Aaliyah Taylor on Friday was announced winner of the 2022 Magic City Fashion Week (MCFW) Season Four Emerging Designer’s Competition.

“I’m a 6’5 [or 6’6] woman, and [I’ve always had] the mentality that just because you’re going to be plus-sized, and you’re going to be big, does not mean that you cannot live in your truth, you cannot be bold, you cannot be confident,” Taylor said in her acceptance speech.

“And like I told Daniel [Grier, founder of MCFW] this collection was just me entering into a new season and transitioning from just being a jewelry designer, from just limiting myself because of what I thought I should be and limiting myself in one space. But this is the season where I am taking up every space – so get ready,” said Taylor, who is from Birmingham’s historic Titusville community.

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Her pieces were full of vibrant color and made big statements as they came down the runway and gave the shape of clothes made in the 60s, giving her collection a mod (of or pertaining to a style of dress of the 1960s, typified by miniskirts, bell-bottom trousers, and boots) essence.

From 5 p.m. until after 9 p.m. on Friday the Art Museum was full of fashion lovers ready to immerse themselves in the Birmingham fashion experience. But it wasn’t until the runway shows started that the audience was able to see what Birmingham’s fashion community is made of.

The show started with the 2018 Emerging Designer Competition winner Caléchie, and the emerging designers followed.

Taylor was followed by Darryl Peoples whose collection featured lots of evening wear pieces with cutouts to reveal skin. Most of his pieces ranged from the colors red, green and black but they were all adorned with a gold or glitter accent. His collection was sleek as a collective and hugged the models’ silhouettes.

James White followed with a collection full of denim. His collection presented denim in a different and softer light – the denim flowed as if it were made from a softer fabric. His collection was full of cultural looks that added a regal presence to the runway.

Next was Julie Maeseele whose collection with its minimalistic aesthetic and clean lines exuded a soft aura. Maeseele provided the audience a feeling of comfort but didn’t forget add a pop of orange to each piece – giving the audience something to remember.

After Maeseele, Pyper Gilbert graced the runway with drama. Her collection was otherworldly with its bold statements but also grunge due to the amount of black used with a hint of color in each piece. Her inspiration – the subway in New York during fashion week – was personified through the fabrics chosen and the placement of certain embellishments to the looks. With the electric energy of her collection, Gilbert brought the audience to her world.

Next was Rachel Reilly who brought the essence of The Magic City to the runway with her circus themed collection. Reilly’s pieces were full of vibrant color, and it was apparent she allowed herself to freely have fun with producing her line. With her models performing magic tricks at the end of the runway, Reilly’s collection left magic in the air.

Once the emerging designers finished showing their collections, Kenya B., the 2017 Emerging Designer Competition winner, presented her latest collection. And Daniel Grier, founder of Magic City Fashion Week, ended the show with his collection.