In part I of our Black Fashion Designers You Need to Know series, we met some amazing fashion designers from Berny Martin at Catou to Akosua Afriyie-Kumi with AAKS and from Carlie Cushnie to Fe Noel, these fashion designers are bringing the heat to runways and print. Now, it’s time to continue our list of the black fashion designers you should know.
Laquan Smith started his brand in 2013 when he was just 21 years old. He learned patternmaking and sewing from his grandmother and developed a passion for design. Laquan Smith loves glamour and he creates garments with an amazing attention to detail from his studio in Long Island, New York.
Liya Kebede, designer behind lemlem, is a supermodel turned fashion icon. After taking a trip to Ethiopia, Kebede became inspired by the traditional weavers she met there. Her brand is committed to highlighting Ethiopian artisanship using handwoven natural cotton from Ethiopia.
Martine Rose is a menswear designer who lives in London. Martine launched her label in 2007. She takes inspiration from her Jamaican-British heritage and her love of music. Her designs include jeans with unique patterns, t-shirts with fun graphics, and men’s shirts with unique fabrics.
Matthew Harris of Mateo New York is the son of a seamstress. While he studied hospitality management, he discovered that his real love is jewelry design. He founded Mateo New York in 2009, and while it began as a men’s jewelry company, he’s since released a women’s collection.
Rebecca Henry founded The Dolls House in 2012 as a made-to-order fashion company. Her clothing is created to be feminine but edgy, and she puts a lot of detail in the draping of her creations. Flowing velvet tops, boxy sequin skirts, dramatic dresses are all part of her signature.
Reuben Reuel’s DEMESTIK is a fashion brand that is committed to sustainability and ethically created garments. As a designer, it’s important to Reuel to create a blend of past present and future in each garment he creates. He embraces color and pattern in his designs for a beautiful aesthetic.
Fashion has inspired Romeo Hunte from his youth. Instead of going into sports, for which he had scholarship offers, he decided to pursue his dream of becoming a fashion designer and launched his brand in 2014. He created Beyoncé’s “break the internet” dress and has been a notable brand icon since.
Sindiso Khumalo is based in cape town. She designs textiles and is passionate about sustainability in fashion and working with the International Trade Centre Ethical Fashion Initiative. She works to develop handmade watercolor and collaged textiles with an emphasis on African storytelling.
Te’Arrow Hoggard works full time to create a fashion line for women regardless of size. She’s committed to promoting body positivity and creating sensual fashion that works well for all figures. She uses a lot of sheer lace in her designs and plays with a mix of form-fitting and beautifully draped fabrics.
Telfar Clemens’s fashion line, TELFAR, is a unisex clothing line. Telfar was created in 2005 in New York City and is an international brand. The slogan for TELFAR is “It’s not for you – it’s for everyone.” Brand highlights include jewelry, hats, belts, and fun sportswear that works for everyone.
Thebe Magugu is a South African designer focusing on women’s ready to wear clothing and accessories. They have an exceptional and clean aesthetic with motifs from Africa’s history and culture. Their clothing blends the modern with the traditional and has looks for work and for fun.
Thulare Mongareng, the designer behind Oketsa, uses bright colors and sharp impressions to create a brand that stands out. The brand’s roots are in South Africa, but Thulare Mongareng is an Indiana resident. The brand mission is to create a style that resonates globally using indigenous cultural iconography.
Tia Adeola, owner of fashion line Slashed by Tia, uses her background in art history and interest in the Renaissance period as well as her worldly upbringing to create a brand that appeals to a diverse range of women. She created her brand in 2017, two years before graduating from The New School.
Undra Celeste’s brand tailors “modern workwear for the modern woman.” Her clothing is fun, colorful, yet appropriate for the office – or home office. Undra Celeste New York is a wonderful mix of classic “basics” that are anything but basic and statement pieces that are restrained enough for everyday wear.
Victor Glemaud was born in Haiti. His brand focuses on creating statement knitwear and leisurewear that is both comfortable and stylish. He launched in 2006 and has since been a finalist in the 2017 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. Ashley Graham, Dominique Jackson and Selena Gomez have all been seen in his designs.
Viviane Valerius is a Haitian-born designer. She creates flowing wedding dresses and eveningwear. She designs for women of all sizes and combines elegance with an easy-to-wear feeling, even when it comes to her couture pieces. Her work has an ethereal feel to it and is stunning on the runway and coming down the aisle.
Wales Bonner founded her brand in 2014. She began her brand as a menswear brand, but then expanded it to womenswear. Much of her line is unisex – it could be worn and rocked by either men or women. Her clothing is sporty and fun, and she plays a lot with patterns and proportions.
Yemisi Sanni is the designer behind Stylenspire. She’s from the Yorùbá tribe of Lagos, Nigeria and one of ten children. She strongly identified with fashion as a child and as a teen could reproduce a garment after studying a photograph. Her brand is all about bright bold colors and having fun with form.