You’ve added new books to your “to read” list. You’ve added social activism tasks to your “must-do” list. You’ve learned the names of all of the black representatives in your state. Now, it’s time to get familiar with the black designers who will have you looking fabulous the next time you’re ready to dress to impress.
Ade Hassan launched lingerie and hosiery company, Nubian Skin, in 2014. She wanted to fill a need for women with darker skin to have lingerie and hosiery with four skin tones to help women find their own “nude” color to wear under other garments.
Akosua Afriyie-Kumi founded AAKS to share weaving techniques from Ghana with the world at large, while also creating a sustainable job market in Ghana. AAKS bags are all hand-woven, and they come in a variety of bright colors.
Amaka Osakwe is a Nigerian designer and the owner of fashion brand Maki Oh. She founded her womenswear business in 2010 and many notable women have worn her clothing including Solange Knowles, Azaelia Banks, and former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Anifa Mvuemba recently made Vogue UK when she staged an Instagram Live fashion show using 3D renderings instead of models, giving viewers a glimpse inside the future of post-COVID-19 fashion. She began her fashion career at 21, and she’s a trendsetter, for sure.
Bold. Daring. Colorful. All three words don’t do justice when it comes to describing 23-year-old Aryea Kolubah’s eponymous brand. She uses bold ethnic prints with bright colors to create garments for women not afraid to make a splash. Recently, she’s added masks and headwraps to her collection.
Berny Martin is the designer behind Catou, and founder of Midwest Fashion Week. He designs both womenswear and menswear that is fitting for each client’s form and personality. He started his brand in 2005 and has received recognition from a variety of international media including from MTV, BET, Ebony Magazine and countless others.
You may recognize this brand from Target’s latest designer collaboration, in stores this summer. Carlie Cushnie, owner of CUSHNIE, established her brand in 2008. Her aesthetic is one that embraces sculptural, clean lines and precise tailoring. In addition to Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Biel, Ashley Graham and Beyoncé have sported her garments.
CASTAMIRA is Chantel Davis’ luxury swimwear brand. This former model wanted to create swimwear that looks good on every body while also having impeccable fit. Her initial collection is made up of one-piece suits.
Christopher John Rogers
Christopher John Rogers is a recent recipient of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. Prior to that, he was making his gorgeous gowns and suits from his apartment living room in Brooklyn. His creations are now available on Net-A-Porter.
Darryl Brown started his career as a steel worker before he made his mark in the fashion industry. Darryl Brown has styled Kanye West, and recently released his first collection, which is inspired by those working in blue-collar industries.
Duembi Iyamah is another Nigerian fashion designer and is the owner of the Andrea Iyamah fashion brand. She founded her brand when she was only 17 and works in both Ontario, Canada and Lagos, Nigeria to create global fashion that makes a statement.
Fe Noel is another womenswear designer to watch. She uses a lot of color and bold prints in her designs, taking inspiration from her Caribbean heritage. Bright red bodysuits, crop tops, and sheer pants are all part of the summer collection.
Glenroy March’s House of D’Marsh launched in 2003. He obtained his training from studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts working in the costume department. As evidenced by his collection, he loves architecture and works to incorporate it into his unique designs.
James Flemons is the designer behind Phlemuns. His creations embrace unisex pieces with classic silhouettes. His current collection includes masks, sweatpants, sweaters, and backless t-shirts. Most of his clothing is androgynous and can be worn by both men and women.
Kenneth Ize brings Nigerian crafts to textiles and fashion. He works directly with artisans in Nigeria to produce his colorful and culturally inspired designs. Recent pieces in his collection are bright and embrace orange, bright green, and other bold colors to create a unique menswear collection.
Kerby Jean-Raymond is the mastermind behind brand Pyer Moss. Everything in the Pyer Moss collection has an architectural quality about it that stands out from other designers. My favorite piece in the collection is the red wide-leg silk tuxedo trouser.
Kyemah Mcentyre made headlines for her gorgeous prom dress made with an African print that celebrated her black pride. Her brand, The Mind of Kye, launched while she was still a student at Parsons Design and features dresses, masks, tops and more in her online shop.
Stay tuned for part two where we’ll share another list of fabulous black designers to watch!