Flora Montes, President and Executive Director of Bronx Fashion Week
To some she is known as Fairy Godmother or the Puerto Rican Paula Deen; her name is Flora Montes. Yes, Flora like a flower in the Spanish language. Which is not by chance that her name is Flora, because she is a flower that blossomed in The Bronx and is planting seeds into The Bronx.
Flora has a big heart that drives her through everything that she commits herself to. Growing up in The Bronx, has taught Flora the importance of giving back. Although she moved out of The Bronx at the age of 24, her heart never left her home. With her experiences and creative ventures, Flora always found herself coming back to the boogie down Bronx, giving back to her home. Living in Connecticut, Flora took the last $20 that she had in her pocket and bought school supplies for kids in The Bronx, investing back into her community.
This idea came to her while she was at a Latin Fashion Show. After experiencing a great show; Flora was amazed and she said to herself “We have to have this in The Bronx”. The next day, Flora began to work on bringing a fashion show to the Bronx. After what she had witnessed at the previous fashion show, she refused to put this dream to rest. Best believe, Flora worked until this fashion show came to life in The Bronx. This idea is now a reality that has been around in The Bronx for three years. I don’t know about you but as a Bronxite, this fills me up with joy.
Her authenticity and her love for her home (The Bronx) is what makes Flora a Bronx icon. Authenticity for many reasons, but one main reason is because she does serve back wholeheartedly as opposed for economic reasons.
I had the pleasure to attend The Bronx fashion show this year back in August, that focused on a theme of “Back to school”. This event was hosted in Bay Plaza Mall, one of the biggest malls here in The Bronx. Before the show had begun, I was backstage speaking to models, designers, makeup artists,volunteers and interns who all shared the same feeling of a movement happening in The Bronx. Witnessing models, designers and sponsors piecing this event together, was a clear statement that The Bronx is in for a change! Bronx fashion show is setting a new standard to fashion shows throughout New York City, because they bring diversity in different areas as it is mentioned in New York Times article. As Flora says, “The Bronx Fashion Show is more than just a fashion show! It is more than just modeling, fabric or just a shirt”. In agreement with an article published by Bronx Times, Bronx Fashion show is about celebrating The Bronx and embracing beauty from the inside out.
Flora Montes is a writer, poet, blogger, culinary chef, visionary and a full time Bronx advocate. Coming from a place where most people feel like you can’t make it far, Flora made it her job to give back so that she can help others chase their dreams. “Giving back equals healing” as Flora says. She did not allow herself to be a statistic in between the struggles that she had faced in her life, instead she flipped things over to cater to those in need.
Get to know her story and her face because she has more to bring to The Bronx. “I am not building a company, I am building a legacy” and she is confident that “my grandchildren will look at this and be proud”. Such an amazing woman with a beautiful heart. Personally, I have never met anyone like Flora Montes. One thing that I learned from her as we chatted over Mexican food, is that it is not about the glamour but, yet about the story behind.
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