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Equality Fashion Week Returns to L.A., Focusing on Fashion, Small Businesses and Education

The inclusive event founded by Nik Kacy is back with four days of runway shows, a summit and a queer market.

Equality Fashion Week Returns to L.A., Focusing on Fashion, Small Businesses and Education

Equality fashion week 2024 flyer.

Equality Fashion Week is back, and will be held from Wednesday through May 19 in Los Angeles.

The inclusive event was founded by Nik Kacy of NiK Kacy Footwear, and took a pause during 2020 due to the pandemic, but Kacy continued their work raising funds with their Queer Prom events in 2022 and 2023.

“I never got to go to prom so it was for all the folks like me who didn’t get to go as our authentic selves. After Queer Prom last year, I began the arduous task of opening casting calls for models and fundraising for EFW,” Kacy said. Kacy received more than 150 applications to participate in this year’s show.

Scheduled to coincide with AAPI Heritage Month and as a precursor to Pride Month, EFW will present an intersection of queer and AAPI identities. As the first LGBTQIA+ fashion week in Los Angeles, Kacy says EFW’s mission is deeper than showcasing talent; and is aimed at breaking barriers and fostering unity within the LGBTQIA+ community — particularly among the most underrepresented members from the queer, trans, Black, Indigenous and people of color communities.

Kacy partnered with Hotel Ziggy and The West Hollywood Edition to host EFW. “To me, despite struggling through tremendous hardships to raise funds to put on such a high-production event, it is vitally important to keep creating inclusive and diverse events like these in order to show representation for folks who are so underrepresented,” Kacy said.

Brands showing include Dapper Boi, Origami Customs, Sharpe Suiting and Adolfo Sanchez, of Netflix’s “Next in Fashion.” Historically, runway shows are the centerpiece of fashion weeks, but Kacy sees their event as something bigger: “traditional fashion weeks are focused on just the fashion on the runways because they have access to buyers and retailers. LGBTQ+ fashion brands are often small businesses created to provide solutions for underrepresentation. We use our savings and crowdfund to create these small productions as LGBTQ+ folks have very little access to funding and capital.”

Kacy will also bring back the events “Queer Market,” where pieces shown at the event can be purchased, giving an opportunity to learn more about the participating designers, “as well as support other local queer small businesses that joined as vendors,” Kacy said. This year, they are partnering with The Queer Mercado for the market, which will have more than 100 vendors on Saturday and 30 vendors at the closing party that Sunday.

This year’s event will also feature an educational component, called the 2024 E3 summit, which stands for educate, enrich, empower. “One thing I realized during the last two years of planning EFW was that it was still missing a component of education, especially post-pandemic. Many in our community and beyond have been struggling. From mental health and addiction to financial wellness, elder queer issues and legacy, cyber security and tech, entrepreneurship and queer intersectionalities,” Kacy said. “I hope that people whether queer or allies all take the time to come learn and hear from a very diverse range of figures and experts.”

“When I created Equality Fashion Week, and my fashion brand, NiK Kacy Footwear, it’s always been about equality for all people — and that means inclusion, not division. There is nothing like this event in the country right now and I hope that it helps spark more people to get involved,” Kacy said.