Founding Partner of Liberty Fairs, Sharifa Murdock, is a veteran fashion industry professional with a concentration on cultivating relationships and elevating new brands in the men’s and women’s fashion space through the showcase. With a strong grasp of industry trends and emerging brands, with 20 years of experience, Murdock has extensive experience rooted in retail and fashion. An avid lover and learner of fashion from day one, Murdock has worked for some of the most prestigious international fashion houses, such as Louis Vuitton, Donna Karan and Michael Kors. Additionally, she founded “The Brooklyn Intern,” an organization which works closely with high school students to give them the opportunity to experience exclusive internships in the fashion industry. The Brooklyn Intern inspired Murdock to start the ENVSN platform to celebrate and cultivate the dreams and creativity of women of color.
Inspired by the dreamers, go-getters and future leaders – the annual ENVSN Festival focuses on bringing together a collective of strong, influential personalities who, at the core, believe in the power of women. Murdock describes the festival as a collaboration of possibilities where real success stories are used as a platform of encouragement for the millennial minds, alongside unique shopping and music experiences.
Known for its vibe and fashion, Brooklyn has helped raise some of the most iconic and notable influencers and tastemakers in today’s culture. The ENVSN Festival embodies just that – a place built to help young women thrive and grow into the best selves they can be. The ENVSN festival this weekend was held on the campus of Industry City allowing for two floors of immersive shopping experiences and main-stage panel discussions. The festival-goers experienced the best in next-generation food, performances and panel discussions featuring media mavens and entertainers like Angela Yee, Gia Peppers, Karen Civil, Queen Naija and more.
Thrilled to be in a space made for us, by us – where we can speak unapologetically and at length about how us women, can impact real change! My advice: Keep swimming ladies because the marathon continues!
With panels and workshops highlighting the business of music, entrepreneurship for small businesses, prioritizing self-care, The ENVSN Festival provided inspirational stories and advice from top-tier influencers, brand executives and experts. Ahead we spoke with Murdock about her vision for this year’s festival and its impact within her community.
Dominique Fluker: Share your career journey. What led you to the fashion trade show business?
Sharifa Murdock: I stumbled into the trade show business. I worked hard in retail as the Head of Sales at Atrium and naturally built connections with the vendors and brands we carried. My then boss, now mentor and business partner saw my work ethic and offered me an opportunity to create a wholesale business experience that would change the fashion industry. I became the woman behind one of the world’s best fashion trade shows.
Fluker: As a fashion industry executive and philanthropist what inspired you to create ENVSN, a platform for women empowerment?
Murdock: I created ENVSN for the young girls who were like me. They didn’t have the access that I do now. I found a lot of them reaching out to me asking about mentorship. ENVSN is a love letter to my younger self. I brought together an amazing team and my tribe of strong women to put together a space where all the young Sharifa’s could be empowered and get the necessary tools to bring their dreams to fruition.
Fluker: ENVSN focuses on bringing together a collective of strong, influential personalities who believe in the power of women while giving them access to tools and resources to build their dreams. How is your platform making an impact?
Murdock: The impact of ENVSN and the legacy of the festival is truly important to me. It’s about showing girls that they can become anything they put their mind to. In a moment where women empowerment and diversity are trending, ENVSN, is making a point to educate the next generation that these ideals go so much further than the trending topic.
As women, we are at the forefront and have the potential to change the game. New York City as a whole is such a diverse home to grow up in but depending on what neighborhood you’re from, there’s usually a norm or expectation of who you’ll become and what your job will be. It’s our job, as women who have gone through this, to tell our stories and give these young women in NYC the access to the information and opportunities we’ve been given along the way. It’s so important to us that each and every girl understands her full potential and can build a successful career beyond society’s expectations, in any field, from fashion to finance.
Fluker: This year, the ENVSN Festival has quite a lineup of inspirational speakers, CEOs, activists, media mavens, athletes, and artists. Share your thought process in selecting the talent.
Murdock: The thought process in selecting the talent is not only the responsibility of our managing team but we also curated an ENVSN Ambassadors group of young girls who gave us insight to the influencers, tastemakers, trending artists, and the pulse on what it means to be a young woman growing up in our world today.
Fluker: What was the intention behind centering the two-day festival at the intersection of music, fashion, beauty, and wellness?
Murdock: Music, fashion, beauty, and wellness are the pillars of a young girl’s life. Music, sound and dance are great ways to connect and bond. They’re like soundtracks to our memories. Fashion and beauty address the outward expression of young women, regardless of their interests. Lastly, wellness is so important to me and I wanted there to be a space where real conversations can be had about personal health, mental wellness, relationship building and the overall experience of womanhood.
Fluker: In addition to creating the ENVSN festival, you also started the ENVSN Visionaire Award series. Speak to the meaning and importance of the ENVSN Visionaire Award.
Murdock: The ENVSN Visionaire Award is so important because it promotes wellness and camaraderie among young women. This award is focused on young women uplifting each other and recognizing the efforts of their peers within the wellness space. Be it a fitness series, healthy dinners, or talks to address mental health and giving praise for the work they are doing today in real-time.
Fluker: What can future attendees learn by attending the ENVSN conference?
Murdock: Future attendees will learn that this is a collaborative festival and ENVSN is a space to uplift and never put down a young woman with a dream. We don’t compete.
Fluker: How do you plan to scale the ENVSN platform and festival within the next 3-5 years?
Murdock: We plan to scale organically and continue to give the youth access to resources that will aid in bringing their aspirations to life. I am humbled by the numerous support the festival has received from women of various industries. That has been one of the keys to getting ENVSN off the ground.
By Dominique Fluker|Forbes