The fashion industry is a very white-dominated and Eurocentric industry even in the 21st century. The greatest fashion designers, such as Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, Christian Louboutin and Michael Kors, all happen to be white. Black fashion designers have small voices that deserve to be heard in such a huge industry. Here’s a look at some black designers that are making a name for themselves in the fashion industry.
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TELFAR was started in 2005 by Queens native Telfar Clemens. The brand specializes in making gender-neutral clothing, “it’s not for you – it’s for everyone.” “It’s great for those who present that way, we just like to do our shows differently,” Clemens said about his unconventional runway presentation after letting his models crowd-surf at New York’s Irving Plaza, a ballroom concert venue. Recently, the brand has expanded from making leather pieces to designer shopping bags. Their most recent collection, FW18 Collection, includes designer belts, denim and sweaters.
After graduating Parsons School of Design, the Tracy Reese label was launched in New York in 1996. The label produces ready-to-wear pieces. Reese’s designs have a distinct feminine and retro-influenced style and she mostly uses bright colored textiles in her clothes. Her brand also went international when she opened an exclusive Tracy Reese store in Tokyo, Japan. Remember the dress first lady Michelle Obama wore at the 2012 DNC Convention?…Tracy Reese designed it! Also, Tracy Reese is an avid supporter of Planned Parenthood. You can also find her clothes in retail stores, such as Nordstrom, Anthropologie and Bloomingdale’s.
Current New York City resident Aurora James has brought Africa to the American fashion industry through footwear. James travels to various African countries – Morocco, Kenya, Nigeria – and creates African artisan jobs. Brother Vellies creates boots, sandals and heels all in Africa, which are then shipped here so American consumers can buy authentic African fashion. Not only does Brother Vellies specialize in footwear, but Aurora James also has a designer bag line and is collaborating with another label to design dresses.
With high-end clients like Beyoncé and Mindy Kaling, Reuben Reuel is definitely becoming a more notable fashion designer. DEMESTIK works with bold prints and architectural silhouettes to create modern aesthetics and contemporary designs for women. This brand has an average item review of five stars on Etsy and has made over 5,000 sales on Etsy alone. This universal lifestyle brand has satisfied the hearts of many buyers all over the world.
Featured Image via WWD