Black Excellence in High Fashion
Less than two decades ago, caucasian designers dominated the fashion industry. But with sheer will and talent, black designers have risen through the ranks and continued to prove that being a successful high fashion designer has got nothing to do with the color of your skin. While they may not be as popular as their white counterpart, black high fashion designers are just as good and celebrated as such. Just last month, it was black history month, and I think there’s no better time to celebrate black excellence in the high fashion industry than now. So if you’re looking to patronize or know more about the black superstars killing it in the high fashion industry, here’s a few of them.
As the founder and creative director of the high fashion brand “Fe Noel,” the New Yorker with Grenadian heritage is one of the black names making us proud in the high fashion industry. As seen in her work, Felisha loves to draw inspiration from both her Brooklyn and Grenadian heritage. Fe Noel is known for its sultry silhouettes and eye-catching prints. So if you’re looking for a little luxury to get your sexy on, Fe Noel is the brand for you.
If you don’t know him as the CEO of Milan-based label Off-White, then you know him as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s collection. Born to Ghanaian immigrant parents, Virgil has continued to prove that with talent and dedication, it’s only a matter of time before people start to appreciate your art for the masterpiece that it is. Although initially a civil engineer, Virgil launched a career in fashion when he interned with Fendi in 2009. Since then, it has been a steady rise to success. In addition to being an excellent high fashion designer, he has also worked with brands like IKEA, Nike and artists Jenny Holzer and Takashi Murakami.
Carly Cushnie is a British designer and founder of the luxury women brand, Cushnie. Before launching her line, Carly had worked as an intern for big names like Donna Karan and Oscar de la Renta. Clean lines and flawless tailoring characterize her brand. Cushnie is a brand that upholds femininity most minimally. Carly Cusnie has designed for celebrities like Gal Gadot, Ava Duvernay, Lupita Nyong’o, Jenifer Loez and even Michelle Obama. If you’re looking for confidence and sex appeal wrapped in a dress, Cushnie is the brand for you.
The Haitian-Italian designer is proof that being yourself is very important in the high fashion industry. Her designs are a celebration of classic Italian tailoring and Haitian/Carribean designs. Jean was launched into the fashion industry when she was runner up in the Italian reality contest, “Who is on next?” Stella Jean celebrates her Haitian heritage in her designs and by choosing to work mainly with Haitian and African artisans.
What kind of list would this be if he didn’t make the cut? The French-born designer is known popularly as the creative director of Balmain. After working with Italian ready to wear brand, Roberto Cavalli, Rousteing joined French high fashion label, Balmain. He has designed for celebrities like Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj, and several others.
Notable black high fashion designers include Laura Smalls, Romeo Hunte, Nigerian-American sisters, Darlene, and Lizzy Okpo, Aurora James and others. Given that these many black designers are taking the high fashion industry by storm, I think it’s high time we all turned up and started to give them the accolades that they deserve #BlackExcellence.