Newark native, iconic fashion designer Stephen Burrows receives key to city

Stephen Burrows accept key to the city of Newark. (Courtesy: City of Newark)

Stephen Burrows, an iconic African-American fashion designer and trailblazer, received a key to the city of Newark, his hometown, during a news conference Wednesday.

Burrows is celebrated for his 40-year career and work, and is known as a sartorial king who has dressed many important women. He received a star on the Seventh Avenue Fashion Walk of Fame in 2003.

“We understand the shoulders upon which of much of today’s talent stands on, we are super proud to be honoring Steven Burrows,” said Aisha Glover, president and CEO of the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation. “As the first African-American designer to gain international stature, and has dressed the likes of [Former First Lady] Michelle Obama, Oprah, Liza Minnelli and Barbara Streisand, his bio is impressive.”

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka presented the key to Burrows, supported by Pat Cleveland, one of the first African-American fashion models to achieve prominence on the runway and in print work.

Fashion model Pat Cleveland, Stephen Burrows, Mayor Ras Baraka. (Courtesy: City of Newark)

“I hope you know you’ve inspired the next generation of designers in this city and beyond,” said Baraka. “The work he’s achieved and accomplished, until you become older, and you realize, there are incredible people in this town. Stephen, thank you for all of the work that you’re doing around the globe. We love you here in the city of Newark.”

“I had a great childhood growing up in Newark,” said Burrows, who is 74. “I’m just proud to be from Newark. I wish you success with your fashion forward project.”

Baraka says Newark has been recognized as one of the 10 most vibrant arts communities in the nation. He announced the city’s inaugural “Newark Fashion Forward” exhibition and fashion showcase. The city will host its first fashion week, a 3-day event spotlighting a new wave of Newark-based fashion designers, in August 2018.

“We have a burgeoning arts community that is growing, growing and growing.”