Black Designers To Look Out For At Upcoming Fashion WeekRead Time: 9 minutes
It is very rare to see black designers at Fashion Week. They don’t get as much coverage as brands that have been around for years or brands that are deemed groundbreaking.
Issa Rae recently wore all black designers to host the CFDA Awards and it made us look into what these designers have done and what other black designers I may missing out on. The CFDA just released the official Fashion Week Calendar and of course most of the black designers I am about to name are not listed on the calendar.
These designers have very different clothing lines, but they have a little something for everyone. These designers have created such magnificence in a fashion world dominated by white voices it’s good to get a speck of black. So let’s jump into it!
Black Designers You May Have Heard Of:
Pyer Moss was founded by Kerby Jean-Raymond and this brand is unapologetically black. Pyer Moss was on the lips of everyone when Jean-Raymond used his show to highlight police brutality and the black community in 2015. He received death threats from the KKK as a result, but he didn’t back away from mixing activism with fashion.
For his Fall 2018 show he used music to spread his message of black equality. He also had embroidered messages on his clothing, ‘clothing without prejudice.’ And Psalm 91 was embroidered on a pink button down he sent down the runway. In an industry where there are very few black designers, hardly any progression as far as black models walking the runway, and no plethora of black women on the covers of major fashion magazines Jean-Raymond is doing something incredibly beautiful. We should all support this clothing line so his message can continue to be heard and if you are ever given the opportunity to sit front row at one of his shows, do whatever you can to take it!
Victor Glemaud has become a knitwear genius over time with his signature diagonal slashes he debuted his line in 2006 and hasn’t missed a beat since. His collections are trendy, fun, bold, and a beautiful surprise once you see what he’s turned knitwear into. He makes pieces bolder and better each season and he makes the sweater we wish we had in our own wardrobes. Making his clothing genderless he has created inclusivity most haven’t accepted yet and that makes his line even cooler. There is no womenswear, menswear at Victor Glemaud, if you like the piece wear it!
Sergio Hudson has been seen on some big stars like Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and Zendaya. His collections consist of statement pieces and a great eye for bold colors on the perfect silhouettes. His clothing is powerful, modern, and extremely sexy. I’m honestly sad I don’t see more black women wearing this brand because, I found myself looking at previous seasons and picking pieces I would love to have in my closet as soon as possible. The tailoring looks impeccable, the looks are daring with a mix of sophistication. His clothing line is everything I want to wear for the rest of my life because of the androgyny, staple pieces, and complete joy I’d gain from styling his different looks.
Stella Jean has been giving us so many wardrobe crushes with her designs and we hardly paid any attention to the black designer behind the brand. We were so busy trying to mimic every look Beyonce posted on Instagram in 2015, we didn’t take the time out to check out all of Stella Jean’s work.
She was born and works in Rome, her style is a blend of her méttisage and creole heritage. She has an affinity for layering and is masterful with blending two heritages and making color look so damn beautiful. She has a great eye for bold prints and blends two strong prints perfectly without either domineering over the other. We witnessed Beyonce wear a montage of Stella Jean and we embraced print mixing in a new way because of it. She is an amazing designer and more we can get from her the absolute better!
Duro Olowu’s collections are filled with vibrant print mixing season after season. His collections are normally based off very strong women and he never lets us down when it’s time to present his latest collection. His collections are consistent , meticulous, and the strength his muse exudes shows in the clothing.
The clothing comes off as strong, confident, bold, graceful, and feminine, just like the women his collections are based off. The prints are beautifully chosen and minimal changes are made collection to collection to the silhouettes and lines in the garments. When you’re looking for a bold piece to top off your look try Duro Olowu.
Carly Cushnie co-founded Cushnie Et Ochs and is now the sole CEO and creative director of the company. Cushnie Et Ochs has been seen on Ava Duvernay and Michelle Obama. Cushnie is now pushing the ten year old brand in a new direction while trying to maintain the DNA that made the brand so successful from the beginning.
With her first solo presentation she showed looser fits, vibrant colors, and she experimented with embellishments. She didn’t let us down with her first collection, but she didn’t push far enough either. Either way we’re not worried about whether or not her success will continue. She has amazing talent and she is a great designer, so whatever she does in the future we know will blow us away and we’re looking forward to it, besides the stars seem to love this brand. I LOVE this brand!
Darlene and Lizzy Okpo named their brand William Okpo after their father and have endured success for their New York brand for the past 8 years. Mixed fabrications and hardware, tailoring, and eye for color have been the core of what you can expect from William Okpo. The brand has grown aesthetically since starting out, but their core values have stayed the same.
They aren’t using African prints just because they are Nigerian, they’re showing their style through the clothing they make breaking away from the stereotype because they’re Nigerian it is a must they use African prints throughout their clothing line. Their clothing are the simplest of silhouettes with a subtle detail that makes you fall head over heels for a piece of their collection. The clothing they are making isn’t something you’re going to find anywhere else and that’s a strong statement when you have fast fashion brands like Forever 21 and Fashion Nova churning out a replica of everything that hits the market. So if you want to bring out your inner-Solange(a supporter of this brand) get you a piece of William Okpo.
Dumebi Iyamah is the owner of clothing line Andrea Iyamah and my is it a stunning line or what?! She is known for her swimwear and the cuts of the swimsuits, the colors she choose couldn’t be better. The cuts and ruffling detail she uses on her ready to wear makes her collection unique, and a true investment in your wardrobe. The swimsuits are absolute must haves, because they are something you don’t really see get pushed to the limit as far as design goes. Just about every mainstream bathing suit, I can say I’ve seen one just like it. Andrea Iyamah is bold in the cuts shown, the skin shown, and the confidence it takes to make something like this and wear it as well. The collection is extremely sexy as well as tasteful and this clothing brand deserves to be on the tips of our tongues.
Laura Smalls’ brand is very feminine and modest. Modest does not mean old, but it is definitely for the woman who wants to be on trend, modern, and doesn’t want her dresses to go above her knees a lot of the time. Laura Smalls has been worn by Michelle Obama as well and is inspired by 30s and 40s fim noir. The more I look at her collection the more I’m reminded of the cool aunt whose closet you want to raid everytime you visit her. Laura Smalls has created something amazing for women who want a more mature, polished look and are showing they have amazing style no matter what age they are, modest, or important their position is. Laura Smalls’ collection represent a woman that is going somewhere important where her clothing can make or break whatever venture she is working towards and these clothes are definitely making the woman.
Tracy Reese is another brand frequented by Michelle Obama. Tracy Reese gives sophistication in a fun and flirty way, showing lots of colors, prints, and effortless cool. Her collections have a few looks that remind me of Olivia Pope, but with bolder colors, like a hot pink trench coat and a camel colored ensemble that features a robe coat and wide legged pants. (Two looks I am currently fainting over!) Her collection seems to be for the woman making a transition from being trendy all the time to a more permanent, polished, mid 30s style. It’s very refreshing to see designers take time and care about the woman that’s not looking to dress like she’s 18 anymore and embracing her maturity with her sense of style. Tracy Reese definitely has some dope pieces I think any woman would resonate with.
Black Celebrities In Black Designers
These Designers Can Open Doors For Black Models
We have such a long way to go in the fashion industry to get as much inclusivity as we deserve. But these are persevering in an industry not built for us and definitely not built to include us. The number of models on the runway have grown, however it’s not nearly where it should be. My fashion magazines still only include a handful of the same black women on the covers.
Behind the scenes of the fashion industry we hardly have any black representation at all whatsoever, but the few there are, are making an impact, making their voices heard, and making sure they stand out so this industry has no choice but to applaud them. These designers can open doors for other black designers and they can keep pushing the message through their imagery. Photographing black models in their clothing, having black models walk the runway, and dressing black celebrities every chance they get. I would love to see in the next year more black designers have a Snob Queen Alert, until then check these designers out in September, give them a chance, and give them your business.