KC designers put streetwear innovation and culture on Kritiq’s catwalk (photos)

Fashion entrepreneurs at the Sunday night Kritiq fashion show shared many of the same struggles on their way to the runway, Mark Launiu said.

“We asked one of our designers here, ‘What’s your inspiration? “And I think a lot of us can relate,” said Launiu, co-founder of MANUFACTURED Urban Clothing and main event organizer. “She said,” I was poor. “”

Mark Launiu, Kritiq

Many of them grew up like Launiu, he said, wearing clothes from their siblings and other family members, often cutting their own clothes to make them look different. This shared experience, along with a collective passion for fashion, helped shape the MADE man’s desire to start the show, now in its third year.

“Some of us grew up downtown, in broken homes. We don’t have the money to go to bigger shows, ”he said. “So the Kritiq was meant to keep our hungry young designers here at home. “

It was also envisioned as a way to showcase the culture and creativity that is already developing in Kansas City, he said.

“We all know what we bring. We know our nieces, our nephews, our brothers and sisters. We know they are so talented, but the outside world doesn’t see it, ”he said.

The Kritiq featured eight designers, including Champion system (Maurice Woodard); Heart Shaped Clothes (Corey and Christle Reed); Melanin connoisseur (Royce and Latanya Handy); Rena’s house (Eranne Whiters); Steana Clothing (Steana Walker); Kyrie Eleison Clothing (Esmeralda Lole); Roger figueroa (Roger Figueroa); and MADE (MADE Mobb).

Joining the Kritiq for the first time on Sunday as a designer, Esmeralda Lole said she was thrilled to be a part of the community building vision.

Esmeralda Lole, Kyrie Eleison Clothing

Esmeralda Lole, Kyrie Eleison Clothing

“It’s amazing what they’re doing for the culture and for Kansas City, take the fashion off the streets and see where it all goes,” she said.

Designing since the age of 10, Lole’s Mexican-American heritage has helped shape her line of Kyrie Eleison Apparel, she said. The pieces all reflected various ethnic cultures across the United States, she said.

“Just with my own personal struggles to fit in, that’s kind of what inspired this line,” Lole said, noting that her father is a first generation American. “I want to tell everyone it’s OK to be who you are.”

Launiu estimated Monday that this year’s Kritiq nearly doubled attendance at the previous show, saying more than 700 people filled the event space at the College Basketball Experience at the Sprint Center.

“The show was exactly what we expected. Lots of culture not only in the public but also among designers, ”he said. “This morning my phone exploded because of the awesome feedback not only from the people but also from the designers. The night was iconic, I think. The Kritiq is a hidden gem in the city, we are waking people up now by a point of creative view as a whole.

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