the tailor famous for its handful of royal warrants, Rousteing was one of the pioneers of Instagram marketing. Lowe was highly selective with her clientele: “I love my clothes, and I’m particular about who wears them. Her line combined bold hues and prints with modern silhouettes and shapes. The opening of the "Stephen Burrows" boutique at the iconic Henri Bendels catapulted his career. In 2005, Casely-Hayford became the creative director for Gieves & Hawkes, "the tailor famous for its handful of royal warrants and with a reputation for dressing the white establishment." Burrows crafted a close fit and a slim silhouette, the "Burrows Signature," along with the "lettuce hem," a narrow zig-zag stitch, which became his trademark. From avant-garde designers with inspirations from underground subcultures, master tailors still at the top of their game, and a couturier who designed Jackie Kennedy's wedding dress, these are influential black fashion designers you should know. Robin Givhan put it perfectly: "His work is boisterous, deafening and dramatic. In 2015, Abloh was a finalist for the LVMH Prize. In 2001, Sean John held the first nationally televised runway show. Kelly's pieces were beloved by Grace Jones, Madonna, and Princess Diana. The collection was bold and bright and drew the attention of Diana Ross and Cher. The protests and the Black Lives Matter movement is shifting the focus to a very serious discussion on Black representation in every industry at every level — and it is about time. Black fashion designers work in a broad range of styles, expressing individual ideas, emotions, and attitudes. Before there was Yeezy and Fenty, there was Sean John by Sean "P Diddy" Combs. Daniel Day, who goes by Dapper Dan, is a Harlem couturier known as the king of "knockoffs." His big break came when he became the first American designer sold in French boutique Victoire. Patrick Robinson made garments to sell to his friends while he was still in high school. Glemaud realized that he had a lucrative business on his hands, so he packed up and moved back to New York. When Pyrex closed in 2013 Abloh started "Off-White," a label described as a "multi-platform creative endeavor." She married music mogul Russell Simmons, who had his own menswear line, "Phat Farm." From Anne Lowe to Salehe Bembury and Ruth E. Carter, discover Black designers and Black-owned brands at Black Fashion Fair. Born and raised in Queens, LaQuan Smith has been making clothes since he was a teenager. In 2018, along with Gucci, Dan opened an invitation-only atelier in Harlem. In 2015, Kerby-Jean Raymond made Forbes' 30 Under 30 list. Stella Jean: The stunning Stella Jean is one of Milan’s rising stars. Haitian-born Victor Glemaud was raised in NYC, where he attended FIT. In the ‘80s, Walker worked for WilliWear, the industry powerhouse Willi Smith's label. It is sold at Macy’s across the country, and Sean Combs is the blueprint for the celebrity-driven labels that followed. Sign-up for Complex Shop, our new eCommerce store fusing content and commerce. The following year was pivotal for Pyer Moss: The brand skyrocketed into the public eye during the S/S 2016 season "when its show highlighted police brutality, referencing the Black Lives Matter movement through use of video, street art and fashion," as BoF reports. He died just 10 years later at the height of his career following a battle with cancer. ", provided rap culture with its signature style, featured a balloon-sleeved mink bomber jacket, Walker was known for his irregularly shaped avant-garde ensembles, We wanted to give them extremely multicultural and diverse fashion...We brought them fashion-tainment. In 2018, Boateng designed new uniforms for British Airways. Tracy Reese is an American designer who is known for "rich, daring colors and unique prints that are crafted into joyful, feminine pieces for the modern woman." Rousteing was one of the pioneers of Instagram marketing with his “Balmain Army” of influencers dressed in the brand’s signature military style. Not everyone on this list is a traditional designer, but they've all had a hand in creative directing a collection and impacting the industry. black fashion designers are a rarity in the industry, there are m. any who have made great strides—not only in their designs, but in creating opportunities for other designers of color. Born and raised in Bordeaux, France, Olivier Rousteing moved to Paris to attend Ecole Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode. She was called "society's best kept secret." At eight, his mother gave him his first suit—a double-breasted in purple mohair. Check out 15 black fashion designers to know, from Laquan Smith to Kyemah Mcentyre. Kerby Jean-Raymond is the founder and creative director for New York-based label Pyer Moss. This led to her main source of design inspiration: combining different cultures. Every magazine wanted to shoot Walker's pieces and top buyers flocked to his presentations. His work helped shape a new kind of British culture and international style for the 21st century. Some draw from their African diasporic heritage, while others work in a western fashion tradition. In 1950, Lowe opened Ann Lowe's Gowns in Harlem and became the go-to dress designer for for the highest of high society—the Rockefellers, the Roosevelts, the du Ponts. Just as Dan fans were screaming ripoff, Gucci invited Dan to create a capsule collection inspired by his archive. Stella Jean was raised in Rome by a Haitian mother and Italian father at "a time when the country was completely unprepared for multicultural families like mine...people constantly stopped in the streets to point at us.” But Jean credits her mixed background for her later success: Jean took her father's basic button-down shirts and mixed them with bright fabrics. That same year, Jean collaborated with Christian Louboutin on a shoe collection. A self taught tailor with a unique style, Dapper Dan provided rap culture with its signature style, reworking traditional luxury-house products to outfit a slew of emerging hip-hop stars and athletes, including the likes of LL Cool J, James Jackson, and Floyd Mayweather. They're making waves and creating their own lanes. In 2000, he won the ANDAM Fashion Fellowship, France's version of the CFDA Award. Combs launched “Sean John” at the height of his career in 1998, using his celebrity status to change the industry. In order to understand the fashion industry as we know it today, we need to look back at the pioneers who led the way. This led to a feature in ELLE France and his first show in 1985. Boateng's contemporary approach to menswear design helped to forge a new appreciation for Savile Row and draw in a younger demographic. In 1968 Lowe became the first Black woman to own a store on Madison Avenue. Since his first collection, Smith's brand has soared, with a high-profile client list that includes Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga. In 2009, Abloh switched gears from architecture to fashion when he interned for Fendi in Rome and became friends with fellow intern Kanye West. COMPLEX participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means COMPLEX gets paid commissions on purchases made through our links to retailer sites. Smith would sport his own designs and give away free clothes in order to make a name for himself. Five years later he decided to close shop and move back to New York. Patrick Robinson currently designs a sustainable clothing line, Pashko. At 13, he inherited his first sewing machine from his grandmother when she passed away. With a background in African history, Kelly used his brand as a way to confront racism by reclaiming symbols of Black oppression, such as the blackface he used as his logo. With KIT he developed a style identified as “new conservative dressing," or classic with a twist. Sometimes it’s extraordinarily, proudly gaudy. Reese is a celebrity favorite, having dressed Michelle Obama, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Taylor Swift. In the world of fine jewelry, there are few Black names that register with the masses, or even in the close confines of the fashion industry. After graduation, Glemaud worked as a fashion publicist. Sometimes it’s extraordinarily, proudly gaudy. Walker was known for his irregularly shaped avant-garde ensembles—coats cut like oven mitts, paper-bag-waist overalls, and pant-skirts. It was the night that American fashion stumbled into the spotlight and made history. Unfortunately with recognition came lawsuits as luxury brands claimed he violated copyright laws by using their logos. While there has been a major push to put more Black models on the runway, the inclusion of Black designers has been largely overlooked. 1. "Being Black has a lot to do with my being a good designer,” he said. Within the fashion industry there's a huge wealth of talented Black designers, many of which have not been given the spotlight they deserve. WilliWear was ahead of its time, mixing elements of relaxed fit sportswear with the high-end tailoring. Baby Phat is a brand that defined fashion in the aughts. Even with all of her global attention, Jean believes fashion shouldn't be exclusive. In 1997, Reese launched her eponymous line which received high praise. In 2017, Clemens won the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award, choosing to invest that money into production for what would become his signature piece. After graduating from Parsons, he moved to Paris and worked as a design assistant to Patrick Kelly. In 1976 he founded his own line with Mallet, WilliWear, which "was a brand that you would see everyone wearing on the street,” Known for his reasonably priced pieces, Smith didn't "design clothes for the Queen, but rather clothes for the people lined up to wave at her". Black History Docs to Educate Yourself With, 11 Black History Movies to Educate Yourself With. In 2019, he won the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award, he has been named on Forbes 30 under 30 list. In 1994 he moved back to New York and became Senior Vice President of Design, Merchandising, and Marketing for Anne Klein. We sum up our twelve was a brand that you would see everyone wearing on the street,”. Boateng was commissioned by President of the Republic of Ghana to design and orchestrate a show at the 9th Annual African Union summit in 2007. Shortly thereafter, Robinson became the Design Director for Giorgio Armani in Milan. Start by shopping at Black-owned businesses, especially Black-owned fashion brands, which have been historically underfunded and overlooked, despite the tremendous impact Black … With high-profile collaborations under her belt, Jean was invited by the UN International Development Organization to join an ethical fashion program. See more ideas about Black fashion designers, Black fashion, Fashion. Our editorial content is not influenced by any commissions we receive. His break into the industry was an internship with Blackbook magazine and stylist Elizabeth Sulcer; his new job gave him access to events and parties where he became his own walking advertisement. This move solidified Dan as the first true luxury brand out of Harlem. An internship for Patrick Robinson turned into an assistant designer position. He is the fashion industry’s latest obsession." Jean won Vogue Italy's "Who Is On Next?" Rousteing continues to be at the forefront of the digital age as one of the first brands to sign onto Instagram's shopping feature in 2019. Balmain has had themed Snapchat filters, a personalized app, and a digital flagship store. At Off-White, he combines ideas of streetwear, luxury, art, music, and travel, Boateng's contemporary approach to menswear design, "a time when the country was completely unprepared for multicultural families like mine, referencing the Black Lives Matter movement through use of video, street art and fashion. His sportswear line was a success and he was named named one of Vogue's rising stars in 1996. To fund his new collection, Glemaud worked as the Style Director at Tommy Hilfiger. When he moved to Paris for his job, his mentor Robinson was there as Art Director for Paco Rabanne. In 2009 he started Casely-Hayford with his son. Do You Know The History Behind These Must-Have Labels? As a Black man designing couture collections with Black women in mind, he was an anomaly. Jean-Raymond attended the High School of Fashion Industries in New York, where he interned for Marchesa and Theory. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io, It's (Pretty Much) Time to Get New Sunglasses, Louis Vuitton Taps Urs Fischer for a New Line, An Ode to the AllSaints 2-in-1 Slip Dress. Jean has also garnered an impressive list of celebrity clientele, including Beyonce and Rihanna. “Most of these designers who have to run to Paris for color and fabric combinations should go to church on Sunday in Harlem. Its main medium is fashion. He has also dressed some impressive figures, including Michelle Obama, Lizzo, Rihanna, and Cardi B. Joe Casely-Hayford was formally trained at Tailor and Cutter in London and the prestigious St. Martins School of Art. Chicago-born designer, stylist, and DJ Virgil Abloh truly does it all. Much of Abloh's success is due to his high profile collaborations with brands like Nike. She democratized fashion with her belief that "no matter your size or heritage, what united the Baby Phat girl was a desire to look good, feel great, and do it on a dollar.” Simmons became one of the first Black women to run a billion-dollar company. Here's the rundown on our favorite black designers that are taking over the fashion world. It’s all right there.” At the time of his death due to complications from AIDS in 1987, Willi Smith was known as one of the most successful young designers in America. We interviewed five Black fashion designers to hear what this current shift in the industry actually means to them, what moving forward looks like, and what they hope to see from the fashion companies and major retailers Above all, Kelly was influenced by Black culture: "In one pew at Sunday church in Vicksburg, there’s more fashion to be seen than on a Paris runway." We have come a very long way and expect great things from the new generation on Black Designers. At Off-White, he combines ideas of streetwear, luxury, art, music, and travel, defining the brand as “the gray area between black and white, as the color Off-White.” The brand quickly became beloved by celebrities and fashion insiders. He left New York in the ‘90s and moved to Paris, where he made a name for himself. See more ideas about black fashion designers, fashion designer models, black fashion. In 1999, under the "Phat Fashions" umbrella, Kimora Lee Simmons created "Baby Phat” to give women a much-needed voice in the booming streetwear industry. He noted: "We wanted to give them extremely multicultural and diverse fashion...We brought them fashion-tainment." New York City was his inspiration "Being Black has a lot to do with my being a good designer,” he said. Ahead, we rounded up a range of black-owned fashion and shoe brands you can shop, from big to lesser-known labels. His close friend, Patricia Field, told the New York Post that few buyers "took a chance on him." Many of these icons, like Patrick Kelly and Stephen Burrows, used their talent to carve out a position for themselves in the industry that simply didn't exist before. Reese went on to work for many top fashion houses, including Perry Ellis, where she became design director for women's portfolio. We are committed to … Telfar's slogan describes the brand's mass appeal: "It's not for you—it's for everyone." Burrows was chosen along with Halston, Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, and Anne Klein to represent America in the Battle of Versailles, a fashion face-off against French powerhouses Pierre Cardin, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, and Emanuel Ungaro. The Telfar Shopping bag, which comes in three sizes, is the brand's best-selling item. After spending his career working for other people, Robinson decided to start his own label in 1996. Ann was left to finish her mother's last job: The creation of four ballgowns for the First Lady of Alabama. A Decade Later, Gabby Giffords Still Has Hope, 50+ Beauty Products That Will Change Your Life, The Brand-New Podcasts to Add to Your Queue, 140,000 Jobs Were Lost In December—All Women's, Items Marie Claire Editors Wear on Repeat, This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Known for his notorious use of black stereotypical imagery, Patrick Kelly, who passed away from HIV/AIDS in 1990, was a designer who saw prominence in … In 1992, Fendi conducted a raid on his boutique, forcing Dapper Dan to close his doors. He then started his brand in 2005 as an undergraduate at Pace University. Unfortunately, this was not enough. The industry rolled their eyes when a rapper wanted to be a designer—but fast forward six years later, and Combs was the recipient of the CFDA’s Menswear Designer of the Year award. 1. Burrows' clothes were the embodiment of the era and its glittering Studio 54 nightlife aesthetic. That's why we wanted to highlight some of the notable names whose ideas and innovations have helped shape the course of fashion. Nearly 10 years after shuttering, Baby Phat is back under the direction of her two teenage daughters. He worked closely with Christophe Decarnin, the brand's creative director, and replaced him in 2011. 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