BLACK EXCELENCE ​

As you will come to realize I am a huge NERD and I love to research things! So, last year during Black History Month I wanted to know more about Black Designers that came before me. It is absolutely mind blowing to know that so many iconic garments that we consider history today where created by black designers. For example, Jackie O’s wedding dress which was created by Ann Lowe. Stephen Burrowswas the first African American designer to receive international fame. “The grandfather of fashion”, known as Arthur McGee. We tend to spot light these designers as well we should; however, through all this greatest, who are the designers creating history now?

This year, I decided to contact multiple African American designers who are phenomenal at what they do.

Darryl Bordenave of Ruckage Designs


1. What is your favorite part of being a designer?

My favorite part about being a designer is the fact that I can see a design in my head then bring it to reality by sketching it out, creating the pattern and then sewing it myself. I love having the ability to take something from an idea then bringing it to life with my bear hands. 2. What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion is my voice. It’s how I communicate to the world. Fashion means expression. Expression of creativity and style.  3. How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style is edgy yet classic just like my fashion brand. My jackets are my ultimate accessory. I usually allow my jacket to take precedence over my entire wardrobe. I do so because they are so detailed. I usually allow by bottomsand shoesbe more subtle a sleek.

4. What inspires you to design? 

Things in the world is usually my inspiration when designing. I love looking at cars, architecture, nature and colors. After I have had a chance to take in the world and what it offers I allow my mind, heart and hands to converge to create. 

5. What is your niche? 

My niche is Outerwear. I am a full range designer but I find that I can express my creativity the most when it comes to my outerwear  6. Name another black designer

Omar Salam

Latoya Brown of Lady Divine


1.What is your favorite part of being a designer?

Designing is a form of artistry on a different level. The creative aspect of designing is my favorite part of being a designer. Bringing something you envision to life is impressive. The amount of artistic expression that goes into a painting, or piece of pottery, is the same for designing clothing. 2. What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion is an expression of oneself. Taking what inspires you and making it your own whether it's a person, place or thing and using those elements to create an exquisite piece of art. Fashion is what makes the world go round. 3. How would you describe your personal style?

I have a unique style. It's more Urban Chic. Mixing the two flavors can give you sexy, sophistication with a dap of edge all-in-one. That's definitely my personality.

4. What inspires you to design?

How I'm feeling at that moment is what inspires me. My mood inspires me to create. As some designers may listen to music as their creating/sewing, myself, on the other hand, listen to music before I start any project. Whatever I'm listening to, sets the tone. R&B, Soul, Reggae, Gospel encourages me to create something sexy, sophistication, artsy, etc. while hip-hop and alternative rock inspire me to create something edgy. Listening to music creates a blank canvas, resetting my mental for the next creation. 5. What is your niche? 

My niche is perfecting my craft. Every ensemble created will not leave my presence without TLC. It has to be perfect before I release it to a client. I love what I do and to see the biggest smiles on my clients face is all I need to continue this journey. I want every individual to feel beautiful and confident in every piece worn by Latoya Divine. 6. Name another black designer.

Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes, born June 28, 1905, died September 26, 2001, became the first black woman ever to own a storefront in New York's iconic street. She was an African American fashion designer and costumer. Did you know she is the creator of the original Playboy Bunny costume? The fashion industry didn't start with us. Zelda, amongst many others, paved the way for Black African American women to take this industry by storm.

Markus Christopher


1.What is your favorite part of being a designer?

My favorite part of being a designer is seeing how it brightens someone's day. When they wear something that I poured my heart and soul into. 2. What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion to me means CREATIVITY! Fashion really shows how a person is by what they wear.  3. How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style is ME.... LOL I wear things that only I can get away with. 4. What inspires you to design?

Old time TV shows like " I love Lucy", "Golden Girls", etc. 5. What is your niche? 

My design style is very churchy being I grew up in church and that all I really know.  6. Name another black designer

RicLamar,  Brehon Williams, Evelyn Harris, Ebony Collins, Femi Bailey-Gordon, Latoya Devine, J.DeVon, Shannon Everette

Erika Ann Marie Randolph


1. What is your favorite part of being a designer?

My favorite part of being a designer is definitely the end result. I get so excited seeing my clothes on the runway. I can never hold in my excitement I always feel so proud and fulfilled. 2. What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion is art its expression as corny as it sounds. If you look at street fashion, or vintage fashion or urban styles it’s all exciting. That’s what I love about fashion I can choose to be from the 70s one day and a Beyoncé video the next day. 

3. How would you describe your personal style?

My answer above as well as anything really. I really love a high waist paint and a wide flare leg or super skinny leg. It just depends on how I’m feeling. I love to wear green. 4. What inspires you to design?

Music definitely is number one and now that I’m a mother my children inspire me. 5. What is your niche? 

The ability to relate to others on all levels and see art in all things as well as beauty and most of all humor.  6. Name another black designer? 

Kerby Jean-Raymond

MarQ by Marquette


1.What is your favorite part of being a designer?

The best part about being a fashion designer is that I get to be creative and express my art through my clothing. 

2. What does fashion mean to you? 

What’s does fashion mean to me? Hmmm, that’s tricky . . . but fashion means to me, that I get to express who I am through my style. My clothing is my identity.

3. How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style during the day time, because I am always working 

on creating new gowns, is wearing a lot of sweats; Adidas sweats, a black tee, and a cozy hoodie. Now at night when I want to get dressed up, I would say I give a very clean, polished look. I love trends and sneakers are my fav, but not just any sneakers; “GUCCI “, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, etc. I can also be very sporty at times.

4. What inspires you to design?

 I think over the years I struggled with that question, haha. I get inspired by things I see, or different eras. Fabric can really inspire me if it’s appealing to the eye for me. If it’s catches my eye; I’m whipping up a garment.

5. What is your niche? 

My niche, I’m very well rounded, but gowns are my favorite things. Fancy gowns, beautiful gowns as I quote ARETHA FRANKLIN.

6. Name another black designer? 

I could name a lot of young black entrepreneurs/designers that happen to be my favorite. Brittany Deshields, Suede Square, Tyler Wells, Nicci Hou, Hou of Falenciaga.

April Ward of Vixxen


1. What is your favorite part of being a designer?

Being able to express myself creatively and freely without rules or restrictions. 

2. What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion is a form of art created from the soul, intuition and imagination.

3. How would you describe your personal style?

Leather, lace and contrast.

4. What inspires you to design?

Music, dreams and strong personal emotions.

5. What is your niche? 

 Rebellion + romanticism, mostly dark and edgy.

6. Name another black designer? 

Olivier Rousteing (creative  director for the brand Balmain)

DaJon J


1. What is your favorite part of being a designer?

 My favorite part of being a designer is seeing a vision come to life from start to finish. The movement and progression, from using raw materials to seeing it transform into a well-constructed garment, is so fulfilling. Lastly, delivering a quality product that always exceeds my clients’ expectations.

2. What does fashion mean to you?

 Fashion is the outward expression of inward uncapped creativity.

3. How would you describe your personal style?

 My personal style is always evolving. I love simplistic silhouettes, clean lines, and bold prints. So a little bit of classic and old school mixed together to create a timeless look is what I always go for.

4. What inspires you to design?

 My inspirations range from nature to church to old Hollywood and the Harlem Renaissance. If you look at the integrity of my design aesthetic, you’ll see that I gravitate toward extravagant and elegant vintage lines.  There will always be flounce, some type of flare or ruffle, and an amazing tea-length dress or skirt. The gentlemen’s garments are dapper and classic, and they are always dressed to impress.

5. What is your niche?

  My niche is special occasions, with a particular focus on exquisite and breathtaking gowns. The intricate details capture the femininity and the essence of a woman.

6. Name another black designer? 

 Ken White of K. White Collections

Instagram: @kenwhitecollection

www.kenwhitecollection.com

Shannon Everett of House of C. Couture


1. What is your favorite part of being a designer?

My favorite part of being a designer is making things come to life. Having a vision in my head and being blessed with the ability to make it reality.  2. What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion means expression to me. I personally believe that fashion/getting dressed in the morning reflects how you feel at that time. Fashion should be personal. You should dress for yourself and no one else.  3. How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style is so may things lol. It’s bold and bright. Afrocentric, but sometimes masculine. Versatile definitely. I can go from a dress and heels to athleisure and sneakers.  4. What inspires you to design?

I’m inspired to design because I like wearing things that can’t be picked up in the store. I design because sometimes what’s in my head is not available in retail. Also, I love custom clothing.  5. What is your niche? 

My niche is using simple, clean designs with bold prints. 

Fashion doesn’t have to be complicated to make a statement. I like for my clients to shine through the clothing not for the clothing to overshadow them.  6. Name another black designer? 

Another black design that I admire is my friend and mentor Dutch Riclamar. 

Dutch of RicLamar


1. What is your favorite part of being a designer?

My fave part about being a designer, is knowing that I play a pivotal part in making someone feel special. In some cases, I may even have to boost their self-esteem. 

2. What does fashion mean to you?

This is who I am today, tomorrow I can be someone else, but today this is who I choose to be. That's my definition of fashion choosing who you want to be. 

3. How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style is very much based off comfort due to my career, however when I go out I like it to be fun and even slightly a spectacle. I'll be the icebreaker or the joke to get the room going because tomorrow my style may change. 

4. What inspires you to design?

Music drives me beyond the words… it can be a tone or a run and I can see colors and shapes when I hear music. Designing is the easy part when you get rid of the clutter and play what you want to feel in your design and that's inspires me.

5. What is your niche? 

Retro modest is my niche we all have fashion language but each area has an accent. It's important to make sure your accent is your own and not you mimicking what you heard, because you spent so much time there… like Madonna in UK. 

6. Name another black designer?

Every local designer I know is a black designer. 

44 views1 comment