JUNNY Spring 2022

Artwork by Rebecca Moses for JUNNY’s NYFW showroom presentation encapsulates the collection’s spirit perfectly. The framed print depicts two Black women wrapped in floral gingham lined caftans as their billowing sleeves of blue entwine while they are surrounded by African printed furniture. The color palette is a balance of warm and cool tones that bounce around the room, possibly inspired by hues associated with Jamaica, a nod to the designer’s heritage. Red and pink gingham curtains drape affectionately over the sparkling lights of New York City’s skyline that peer into the window. A woman who viewed the showroom collection noted that it “felt like home,” which is the most beautifully concise way to describe JUNNY’s first New York Fashion Week (NYFW) showcase.

JUNNY’s collection, MAMA, by Junny Ann Hibbert liberates her mother’s nightwear by bringing it outside. Her mother and life role model, Alex Melceta Johnson, is the collection’s muse. JUNNY notes that the collection “represents the cyclical journey through womanhood inspired by the image and imagination of one’s mother, the dreams of the adolescent girl, the young woman searching for meaning, and the grown woman being and becoming liberated and celebrated.”

Hibbert’s mother was a single mom of 6 children and worked as a seamstress. Memories of her mother making outfits for her siblings are tied into every gingham bow, visions of mama’s beloved pink nightgown are threaded into each playful lace trim, and her vibrant voice commenting on her daughter’s “hard head and soft behind” colors each silk printed flower a different hue for each dearly missed word.

Words cannot fully describe the relationship between mother and daughter, so Hibbert builds on W.E.B Dubois’ poignant words in her collection: “none have I known more sweetly feminine, more unswervingly loyal, more desperately earnest, and more instinctively pure in body and in soul than the daughters of my Black mothers.” The nightwear-inspired collection of caftans, capes, gowns, slips, rompers, and aprons gets as close as possible to making us understand Alex Melceta Johnson’s indescribable love, warmth, and comfort.

The collection is intimate and as rich with emotion and culture as it is with color. All pieces are manufactured and made in New York City, where JUNNY grew up, while fabrics were carefully curated to reflect an element of Hibbert’s heritage. The use of gingham is a nod to her British colonial East Indian heritage while Madras is a cloth adopted by Jamaica, her birth country. There is no JUNNY collection without the brand’s signature caftans; the collection features several “Harlem nights” caftans with vibrant Caribbean florals lined in gingham and splashed with blues of the ocean and reds of a Jamaican Otaheite apple.

Two gowns, the “Melceta” and “Agatha” pay tribute to Hibbert’s mama and grannie through silks of peach and floral. There is a wealth of charming details in the collection; an art printed black leather bag is painted with a woman in an emerald green bow top scattered with flowers that fall from her hair bouquet and a gold ear cuff by Maiko Suzuki rounds out the collection.

Images courtesy of JUNNY

Inspired by the Harlem Renaissance, particularly in the liberation of women, Hibbert takes her mama’s nightwear outside as a bold display that dares women to subvert fashion norms. Hibbert is no stranger to subverting norms as she pivoted from a corporate career with ESPN to follow her passion for fashion in her mid-40s. Along with honoring her heritage, JUNNY also seeks to champion women entrepreneurs and Black designers and makers to encourage all to never stop dreaming and supporting others.

—Tessa Swantek

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