Break Free NYFW held its third showcase on Saturday, February 11th, featuring designers Alexandra Nyman of Ladycat, Ashley Alt of VALT, Kelsey Zephyr of Zephyr, Daniel Ukiri of Dukiri Apparel, and Tyrone Chablis of Just Us Kidz Productions. These designers came together to raise awareness for the nonprofit organization, the Break Free Foundation, which has a scholarship fund to assist those struggling with a substance use disorder to attend a rehabilitation and outpatient program at no cost to them.
One of the highlights of the event was a powerful speech delivered by Kimberly Blair, the Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for NAMI NYC. She spoke passionately about the need to support the passage of Daniel’s Law, which treats mental health as a public health issue and not a public safety threat, and has mental health professionals as the first responders for matters of mental health crises.
Following Blair, was Eve Goldberg, the Founder of BIGVISION, who delivered a speech on the need for community building and sober social events. Goldberg is committed to helping young adults in recovery learn to live fun, meaningful, sober lives by providing entertaining, engaging events and building a community where the BIGVISION “family” can hang out in a cool, hip, substance-free environment.
Bringing the house down was the modern-day genre-bender, Wyn Starks, who was the semi-finalist for Season 17 of America’s Got Talent. Starks performed his hit single, “Who I Am”, which is “that story of me finally blossoming into me. I still have ways to go, but I finally let him out,” Starks said in an interview with Earmilk.
The event was embraced by many prominent members of both the sober and mental health communities including Councilmember Tiffany Caban who serves on the Committee of Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addiction and Tina Chiu from the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health.
As well as the Realization Center, a unique comprehensive full-service, chemical dependency outpatient treatment center, Lyre’s, the most awarded non-alcoholic spirits in the World and still counting, All the Bitter, which is a lineup of non-alcoholic cocktail bitters that lift the spirit, as well as Hekate NYC a sober bar, Paul Mitchell School, START Treatment and Recovery Centers, Proof No More, Rehab Studios, Think Presently, For Bitter For Worse, Fever Tree, Sanzo, Caleno, Athletic Brewing Company, After Magazine, Reva Recovery, Recovery Today Magazine, LadyCat, Front Society, NAMI NYC, and BIGVISION.
The event was MCed by Shaye Troha, a multi-faceted, Brooklyn-based performer, with DJing by Liquid Sound FX, a one-stop shop, full-scale entertainment, and event production business.
To kick off the afterparty, Good Boy Fashion performed his new single “RNWY”, a song all about leaving your heart on the runway, with mocktails served by Hekate NYC. At the conclusion of the event, a petition was passed around in favor of the passage of Daniel’s Law with nearly fifty signatures collected.
All of our sponsors, speakers, designers, and performers came together to share the story of how mental health, co-occurring disorders, and substance use has impacted their lives, and to raise awareness of this important cause. The next Break Free NYFW Designer Showcase will be held on Sunday, September 10th. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.com.