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People of Africa: The Top Black Designers in Fashion

During Black History Month, we were able to recognize the top black fashion designers who have changed the industry and continue to do so. Now we are here to shed light on them and their legacy. Read on to learn more about them today.

Anne Lowe

The first African-American fashion designer, Ann Lowe, created designs that were highly regarded by the upper class.

Around 1920, she started a well-known clothing salon in Florida. She moved to New York and worked at Montaldo's and Saks Fifth Avenue. On her wedding day to John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Bouvier donned her most famous masterpiece.

Carly Cushnie

Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs started Cushnie in 2008 and quickly became noted for their clean, contemporary designs. Both models dressed elegantly, sensuously, and fashionably.

This brand has been seen on Blake Lively, Khloé Kardashian, and Target.

Dapper Dan

Dapper Dan's Boutique introduced Haute fashion to hip hop in the 1980s and 1990s. Dapper Dan has dressed Floyd Mayweather, Salt-N-Pepa, LL Cool J, and Jay-Z.

He was named one of Time's 100 most influential people in 2020. He debuted a Gucci fashion collection in 2017.

Elizabeth Keckley

Elizabeth Keckley, born into slavery in 1818, went on to become a great seamstress, author, and advocate. She served as Mary Todd Lincoln's modiste and confidante.

Custis, Elizabeth Ann Lee wore a Keckley gown to King Edward VII's supper event. Lee's costume was popular, and as a result, Keckley's business grew. Because her clothing is so well-fitting, she is regarded as "D.C.'s dressmaker."

Jay Jaxon

Jay Jaxon is another Black designer who is often overlooked. Jaxon was the creative director of the now-defunct French fashion business Jean-Louis Scherrer in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

He designed clothes for Dior, Givenchy, and Yves Saint Laurent and TV, film, dance, and music tours. His works exemplified beauty, sophistication, and simplicity.

Jaxon highlighted the draping of African women's dresses. He designed African attire on the bias toward mobility.

Kimora Lee Simmons

Kimora Lee Simmons worked as a model for Chanel, Fenti, and Valentino. In the year 2000, she was appointed Creative Director of Baby Phat and a judge on America's Next Top Model.

She is a well-known fashion designer and television personality.

LaQuan Smith

LaQuan Smith is a successful fashion designer after being rejected by two institutions.

His self-titled fashion company launched at New York Fashion Week in 2010. Serena Williams and Rihanna have both modelled for him and attended his events.

Olivier Rousteing

Olivier Rousteing joined Roberto Cavalli as Creative Director in 2010. He was appointed Creative Director at Balmain at the age of 25, where he infused an Asian touch.

Balmain's profits have climbed by 15 to 20% since he became CEO, and menswear now accounts for 40% of the company's income.

Ruby Bailey

Ruby Bailey is an African-American fashion designer noted for her illustrations and patterns. Her ingenuity is obvious, and she models her own works.

Her designs featured bright tribal motifs, and the New York Amsterdam News published a classic zebra-print "African" jacket in 1949.

Stella Jean

Stella Novarino, often known as Stella Jean, is a protégé of Giorgio Armani who lives and works in Rome, Italy.

Her work combines traditional Italian tailoring with inspirations from different cultures. Her AW14 collection was co-created with Christian Louboutin, and her designs were featured at the V&A in London in 2014.

Virgil Abloh

Virgil Abloh, a professional architect, interned at Fendi in 2009. Off-White was co-founded by him and musical artist Kanye West.

In 2018, Time magazine named him one of the world's 100 most influential people.

Enhance Your Wardrobe with African Clothing 

The beautiful thing the black community has offered us is the ability to produce designs that tell stories. Because of the rich African culture, people all over the world are opening up themselves to new ideas, innovations, and experiences. In the fashion industry, we see a growing number of excellent black designers who are continuing this.

Do you want to learn more about traditional African clothing in the UK? Nkiti African Attire is a British fashion label that focuses on casual African clothing of unique designs, high-quality textiles, and historical references. Shop our collection today!

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