Fashion has always represented the ability to boldly forge new frontiers in the imagination. As we celebrate Black History Month, we’re taking a look at some of the fiercest and most innovative black designers who are not only making their mark on the industry but also reshaping what’s possible in the world of fashion.
Fashion insiders like Lori Harvey, Kendall Jenner, Rihanna, Beyonce, and Cardi B, all sing LaQuan Smith’s praises and have entrusted LaQuan when looking for that head-turning, body-hugging ensemble. Smith has come a long way since his first debut at NYFW, which he made single-handedly on his grandmother’s sewing machine in Queens. Get ready to swoon over his new designs this February 14th at New York Fashion Week.
Virgil Abohl of Off-White
Virgil Abohl is the black European designer of Off-White, a fiercely innovative line that ranges from the freshest urban wear to richly feminine royal-inspired pieces, as seen in his spring 2018 Paris Fashion Week collection, an homage to the late great Princess Diana. The 2017 Off-White Nike Air Jordan collab sold-out in a minute, but Virgil’s newest Jordan creation is an all-white version dropping February 27th. Word to the wise: Get in line now.
Iris Barbee Bonner
If you caught Cardi B’s hilarious Super Bowl commercial, you’ve seen the fierce hand-painted acrylic designs of Iris Bonner, a 33-year-old Philadelphia-based artist behind the flamboyant fashion label These Pink Lips. Her work has a flair for the provocative, opting for graffiti designs that come with a bold, hard-to-miss message. She’s certainly one to watch!
When Michelle Obama took the stage in 2012 at the Democratic National Convention in a pink sleeveless number, she was dressed by the then-unknown Tracy Reese, who would instantly skyrocket to fashion fame. This African-American designer values inclusivity in fiercely flirty and uber-feminine frocks. Sarah Jessica Parker, America Ferrara, and Ashley Graham are fans of the line.
Cushnie Et Ochs
Cushnie et Ochs is designed by women for women, and the line drips with piercingly raw-yet-refined femininity. One part of this female design duo is Carlie Cushnie, an NYC-based designer who first burst onto the fashion scene when a part of her collection was featured at NYFW…while she was still just a student at Parsons design school! The line has sky-rocketed to serious fashion fame, being sold in hundreds of stores and worn by the likes of Khloe Kardashian, Blake Lively, Michelle Obama, and, most recently, by Dakota Johnson at a 50 Shades Freed event last week.