JUNNY® Debuts at NYFW with New ‘Mama’ Collection
The collection is named ‘Mama,’ as an homage to the designer’s mother, Alex Melceta Johnson.
New York Fashion Week was back in full swing, honoring an epic return back to designer runway shows, showroom presentations, and bustling after parties. Harlem Designer Junny Ann Hibbert of the eponymous label JUNNY®, debuted her full Spring/Summer ’22 collection entitled ‘Mama’ at New York Fashion Week on September 11th, as the occasion marked the designer’s first time to ever be featured on the official New York Fashion Week calendar. The womenswear collection was soft, whimsical, and fluid, as decadent silk dresses, multi-colored caftans, vibrant capes, and gingham, took center stage to a captivated audience.
The collection is named ‘Mama,’ as an homage to the designer’s mother, Alex Melceta Johnson. “My mother will always be my hero,” Junny said. “She was a single mom, and raised 6 children by herself with a little help from her community. As I pondered this Collection — coming out of a global pandemic — most of us are forever changed. We must go on, but differently.”
And differently it is. Reminiscent of her mother’s love for nightgowns and slips, the collection features an array of silk dresses and gowns (with a hint of lace) — for a little bit of naughty, with an extra splash of nice, for the ultimate in fashionable wear. Multi-colored caftans, as the Caribbean designer’s signature touch, were expertly styled to drape delicately over the silk pieces — for those daring to wear what was once only intended for the indoors…outside. “Women back then never went outside without a covering over their nightgown,” the designer mused. The JUNNY® SS22 collection now enters to liberate this woman, daring her to be bold, and to change the game.
The collection also features light, durable caftans with exaggerated, billowy sleeves (as a nod to her Caribbean heritage), decadent capes (for the superwoman in all of us), African prints (as another nod to her heritage), gingham sleeves, rompers and multi-dimensional aprons (as an honor to her British Colonial and East Indian Heritage). With a subtle nod to the Harlem Renaissance, the Jamaican designer credits the inspiration of this era as a time marked by culture and invention. “Women never got their shine back then,” Junny added. “Beautiful, intelligent, true Renaissance women. Their joy, their pain, their struggle — I wanted to capture it all.”
The designer received a wealth of guests in the showroom for her NYFW SS22 debut appearance including veteran New York stylist and creative director Freddie Lieba, acclaimed illustrator Rebecca Moses (who also designed the JUNNY® NYFW invitation, as well as illustrations for other fashion notables), fashion designer Kimberly Goldson (Project Runway Season 9), and many others.
I had the opportunity to speak with JUNNY® before her debut. Check out the interview here.
JUNNY® is a former ESPN sales executive who discovered her passion for designing after getting downsized from her position 6 years ago. Her collections are bold, creatively exuberant, and size-inclusive, drawing on the vibrancy of her Harlem and Jamaican cultural roots. Her collections have often been described as “wearable art.” Inspired by her mother who was a seamstress, JUNNY® has created her own clothing from an early age. JUNNY® also shines a spotlight on not only black designers, but makers and women entrepreneurs who have pivoted from corporate careers in their mid-40’s and beyond, to inspire those to take a leap of faith, follow their passion and unapologetically start something new. More can be seen at www.junny.nyc or by following her on Instagram @iamjhibby.