Meet Brittney Escovedo: Producer of Pyer Moss SS19 Fashion Show
Historically, the fashion industry is a space where people of color don’t often get a seat at the table. In fact, earlier this year, Lindsay Peoples Wagner [ Editor In Chief, Teen Vogue ] wrote a powerful Op Ed encompassing the truths of what it’s like to be black and work in fashion. With 10% of the designers at New York Fashion Week black and only 15% of the runway models being black, there’s no doubt that the truth is in the numbers when it comes to inclusivity in the industry. Yet, NYFW is but a microcosm of the dynamics that exist in the world and not to mention that though fashion/beauty campaign and cover shoots alike are progressing, in the bigger picture there’s still a lack of representation for black and brown people.
Pyer Moss (founded in 2013), is a mens and womenswear fashion label concerned with building a narrative that speaks about heritage and activism. The brand is adamant about creating a message to the fashion industry and the entire world regarding representation--their, “ Stop Calling 911 On The Culture” from the SS19 NYFW Show only proves this even further. The show was visual poetry and so intricately reflected black american culture from the FUBU paraphernalia and afros to the live choir swagsurfing on the pews after the audience had been serenaded by Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way”. Because we’re so invested in shifting the narrative of industries, we just had to meet with one of the masterminds behind the production Brittney Escovedo.
With over a decade in event production experience, aside from producing Pyer Moss shows for nearly every season, she’s worked for brands and influencers like Heidi Klum, Nike, Bape and Hood By Air. What’s most unique about Escevedo is that much of her work is centered on the betterment of communities while taking a unique approach to popular culture and how intertwines with event production. Check out our dialogue below as we talked beauty, culture and her journey as a femme entrepreneur.
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04/20/2009 I took a leap of faith and moved to NY from the Bay Area without knowing what was in store. I had money saved (since I’d initially planned to move to Paris), only knew 4 people in NY, and secured an unpaid internship at Seventh House PR’s Events Division. I worked hard without pay for nearly 5 months. I made money on the side so I could survive. • • We produced over 17 shows, events, and after-parties each FW season as well as a wide array of events throughout the year. I hardly knew what I was doing but I was determined to figure it out. • • After those 4 long years, I transitioned to @sydneyreising @factorypr and began to spread my wings, working with great companies like @bureaubetak, @teamepiphany, and @bmfmedia. • Year after year, I dreamt of following in my mother’s @bemybest22 footsteps and starting my own business. A year and a half ago, that dream came true. I started @beyond8_ (once again, with my savings...see a trend?), and I am so proud of what I’m creating. I named my company after Grandma Jacqui, whose strength, love, pride, and stubborn commitment to winning is ingrained in the very DNA of my company. • • I’ve declared that all things that didn’t work, make sense, or were seemingly unfair at the companies I’d worked for in the past would not exist at @beyond8_. That we would create something meaningful and give back. I was always the exception, but here everyone is welcome. My team is diverse... they each have a voice, family and a home. • • Thank you to everyone who believes in me, lends an ear, and provides me with mental and emotional support. I’m humbled and grateful for you. To those who doubted me, I’m thankful for you too• • I don’t have it all figured out. I’m learning, growing and stretching myself everyday. Can’t wait to see how this story continues to unfold. Let’s make history! • • #Beyond8 #EventProduction #womenempowerment #blackownedbusiness #blackexcellence
TLB: How did you get your start in event production? What compelled you to pursue this is as career choice?
BE: I started as an intern at Seventh House PR. It was a toxic sink or swim environment. Sinking wasn’t an option for me and I found that I really loved event production and I still do. I worked for them for 4 years and once I left, my career took off. Everyday I can honestly say that I absolutely love what I do.
TLB: What are the negatives and positives of being a woman of color and entrepreneur?
BE: The negatives are shared often... However, the positives in my experience have been that clients find comfort in working with women. We are a boutique agency so there’s a different level of attention that my clients receive. I’m finding that there’s a desire and need for people of color in all spaces doing incredible work. Many clients have mentioned that they were drawn to work with Beyond 8 because we produce great work and because it’s owned by a woman of color. It’s so dope that what used to be a downside is now becoming the advantage.
TLB: You’ve got some seriously dope clients! What has been your favorite event project thus far?
BE: I’ve been incredibly blessed to work with an array of clients and projects. I would say that Pyer Moss SS19 show was my favorite event thus far. I’ve produced nearly every show over the past 5 years and it’s incredible to be apart of the growth of the brand and to bring such a powerful, authentic and necessary show to life. This was Kerbys best work to date and the energy and history of Weeksville Heritage Center was undeniable. I’m most moved by doing meaningful work and that show mattered. I recently worked with Wells Fargo on their activation during the No Barriers Summit at the Intrepid and that was meaningful. I had the opportunity to celebrate individuals with disabilities, share their stories and hear the stories of some true warriors. Life is about compassion and perspective. The attendees of No Barriers and the participants in Questival were vibrant and electrifying! I’ll always remember both of those projects.
TLB: We saw the Pyer Moss 2019 Show at Weeksville. It was visual poetry. What was your inspiration for curating this particular event?
BE: Kerby’s inspiration for the show was black love and black family. We wanted to show the grace, strength and beauty of our people. There wasn’t one detail that we didn’t think about. I’d like to think that we knocked it out of the park.
TLB: Does the response from the general public at all surprise you?
BE: Yes, when I’m creating and producing a show or event, especially one that is controversial/out the box you never know how it will be received or if people will understand the intention. It seems that everyone received and appreciated this show, that’s humbling.
TLB: How do you think the culture of beauty can be positively impacted by the show? What can we learn from the aesthetics and messages behind the music?
BE: The show highlighted the beauty in dark skinned, light skinned, Muslim, African, gay, round nosed, full lips, big eyes, Afros, curls, braids and everything in between. I hope that young girls and boys see themselves in the show and believe that they too can do anything that they put their mind to. There are no barriers.
TLB: What upcoming projects can we hope to support you in next?
BE: We just wrapped CultureCon which was another one for the books, next up launching Yoah (gender free children’s wear brand), RYU “Respect Your Universe” Williamsburg store opening and a few more to close out the year. I can’t wait to share them with you, hope you continue to follow my journey.
TLB: At what moment in your life did you realize you were magic?
BE: At a young age my great grandfather always said stay 2 steps ahead of the competition and my mom would always say that I could do anything that I put my mind to. I didn’t quite know how true both statements were till I moved from The Bay to NY. It’s a tough city and resilience is required to make it and appreciate the process. I would say that after 5 years of producing events I realized that I’m really good at what I do. I trained interns like employees, many of which have gone off to get fantastic jobs as producers. I also began to say “there’s nothing that I can’t do or figure out.” As I uttered the words, the universe continued to challenge me and my commitment to the declaration. Year after year I believed that what I’m doing is in fact “magic”
Words by: Nia Shumake
This interview has been edited and condensed.