Break Free NYFW Was About Freedom & Fashion

Yolanda Gibson
3 min readFeb 23, 2022

Break Free NYFW held its premiere showcase on Monday, February 14th featuring designers Wu-Sah, Jacqueline City Apparel, Love Disorder, Adorn Your Clothes, and LadyCat. These designers came together to raise awareness for the nonprofit organization, 10,000 Beds, which has a scholarship fund to assist those struggling with a substance use disorder attend a rehabilitation center of their choice.

“The fashion industry has long been an influencer in how society chooses to live, dress, and act, commented Jean Krisle, founder of 10,000 Beds stated in the moving speech she delivered at the event to the nearly 300 people in attendance, “We are honored to be included in the conversation of how the fashion industry can raise awareness about mental health and recovery — not only within its ranks — but in society at large.”

Break Free is the brainchild of Alexandra Nyman, the creative director and founder of LadyCat and the Editor-In-Chief of Soberocity. A highlight of the event was Deni Carise, PhD, the Chief Scientific Officer for the Recovery Centers of America, the event’s corporate sponsor, returning to the catwalk for the first time in two decades as a person in recovery.

There was a surprise performance on the runway by plus-sized model and body positivity activist, Gabby Fe. Fe performed her hit singles “Better” and “Prioritize”. According to Affinity Magazine, Gabby Fe is “known for creating and performing pop-soul tunes.” The performance radiated rays of sunshine throughout the audience with members clapping along, eliciting booming applause at the conclusion of Fe’s performance. The same was true when Fe returned to the runway to walk for LadyCat in a one-sleeved golden dress.

The event was embraced by many prominent members of both the sober and mental health communities including Lyre’s Spirits, Clean Cause, Fever Tree, the Sober Curator, Soberocity, Curious Elixirs, DJ Hanzi, Reprieve, Dollar Tea Club, and Sample Size Social. With hair and makeup services provided by the iconic New York Makeup Academy.

Break Free was supported by many influencers who strutted down in the runway, including TikTok Duo Sarah and Emily Stone-Francati who “broke centuries worth of barriers” when they walked in Jacqueline City Apparel’s show. As well as prominent YouTuber Gabi DeMartino, Demi Skipper of the Trade Me Project, Jenn Ancelin aka Firty Fashion, and Breast Cancer Survivor Christine Handy.

To close out the showcase, X-WAM performed a freestyle beatbox with backup from DJ Hanzi, a sober DJ, and the founder of sober events company, Reprieve.