Over the past month, the Black Lives Matters movement has been bringing awareness into the racism that has been happening, not only in the US, but all over the world for centuries. This is a wake up call for everybody, and is our duty to get involved and use our white privilege for a good cause. This got me thinking on how the fashion industry works and how there are lots of young black designers who should be getting more recognition instead of letting the big fashion houses keep on culturally appropriate the black culture.
Nevertheless here are some black fashion designers you should be focusing on:
Christopher John Rogers
It's very recently that we've started hearing this name in the industry. Graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design and winner of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Found prize in 2019, is that last February Christopher John Rogers presented his collection at NYFW for the first time.
Now the 25 year old has been getting recognition from celebrities such as Michelle Obama and Lizzo. His fall 2020 collection was a truly stepping stone for him, since winning the CFDA prize he has a majority of resources that put up with his amazing imagination he gave NYFW a wave of fresh air. With a collection full of exaggerated shapes, bright colors and pearlescent fabrics, I'm sure we can expect great things from the young designer.
The Haitian- American designer founded his brand, Pyer Moss, in 2013. He describes it as an "art project" or “a timely social experiment”, with the idea of using his voice and platform to challenge social narratives and start up a conversation. Pyer Moss was put in the spotlight in 2016 when Jean-Raymond decided to make his spring 2016 menswear collection focused on police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement. Kerby explained later a number of brutal encounters he has had with the police among the years. The show started with a video of raw, unnerving footage of police violence against black men and women and it, also, featured recorded interviews with artists, collaborators, and mentors about racial problems in America. Later, his spring 2019 collection had, also, a powerful statement with a celebration of black culture, with phrases like "See us now?" and "Stop calling 911 on the culture". He even has a collaboration with Reebok.
To me, Kerby Jean Raymond is not only an amazing designer but somebody who takes fashion as art and who it's not afraid to raise his voice.
The New York City based brand was founded by designers Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow in 2008 with the motto to "find perfection in imperfection.” Their collections present this "cool," "effortless," and "sporty" aesthetic (and I'm totally in love with the name of the brand). Another thing I really admire about them is that they've started an initiative that encourages other designers to make sustainable collections, along with them, in a 9-month program. Designer Dao-Yi Chow explains the idea behind Public School's V-to line as " something that didn’t just impact our own business". V-to’s pieces are made from 60% recycled cotton, 40% of which comes from post-consumer waste, and 40% certified organic cotton. As a result, V-to basics are made from 100% natural, sustainable materials. Public School's next big move is finding out how to collect pre-worn garments so that they can be turned into raw materials once again. Personally I think that Public School has been put out together by two amazing designers who do not only want to step up the fashion game but bringing good intentions along.
The Liberian-American designer, Telfar Clemens, came up with the idea of making clothes that didn’t exist for him when he was a child.
"I was always attracted to women’s wear, but I was never allowed to wear it, so I made sure there were no gender assignments," he says.
So, in 2005 he founded his brand with the message "It's not for you — it's for everyone.", a unisex line that everyone can be a part of. Telfar gained a lot of success with the brand's vegan leather, tote-style 'Shopping' bags, which had become status symbols for a cadre of cool kids. But the New York fashion establishment has given little to almost no attention to him; it took him 9 years to get a short review form Vogue (they wrote about his 2015 collection). Telfar is another brilliant designer who is capable of creating beautiful clothing with an impactful message and that deserves way more recognition.
Overall I would really like to see the main focus on the industry change; there are tons of designers who are bringing new ideas and ways to see, perceive, and appreciate fashion for us to keep ogling about a monochrome logo Louis Vuitton bag.