FASHION

23 Thriving Black Designers You Should Know

From contemporary icons like Telfar Clemens to up-and-coming talents like Kingsley Gbadegesin and Asata Maisé, these creatives are leading the style conversation.

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A collage of Black Designers and their designs.
Collage by Ashley Peña.

With Juneteenth coming up, I wanted to spotlight a group of Black designers who are making some of the most dynamic, thought-provoking clothing around the world. Some, like Grace Wales Bonner, Christopher John Rogers, and Telfar Clemens have already reached contemporary icon status. Others, including Idris Balogun, Kingsley Gbadegesin, and Lara Olutunbi are rising stars to watch—before you know it, their stunning work will be everywhere. Here’s a primer on the creative forces who are making their mark on the global fashion industry by pushing boundaries, challenging norms, experimenting with new and traditional techniques alike, and ultimately using their platforms to help bring awareness to their various cultures.

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Grace Wales Bonner

The British-Jamaican fashion designer Grace Wales Bonner has been a dominating force in the fashion world, all while being focused on the socioeconomic standing of our black and brown brothers and sisters. Her most recent collaboration with American artist, Kerry James Marshall will have all proceeds donated to Study and Struggle.

Christopher John Rogers

Rogers has always made use of of the boldest colors in his collections, and his Resort 23 collection is full of the vibrant hues we all adore!

Pia Davis & Autumn Randolph

The creator and co-creator of No Sesso (no sex/no gender), focuses on creating pieces that challenge status-quo, all while creating a brand that welcomes all walks of life.

Awet Woldegebriel

Forward Lines, the collaboration created to commemorate of George Floyd. Awet collaborated with the artist, Caroline Harris to create this line. 30% of proceeds will be donated to the NAACP and the National Urban League!

Theresa Ebagua

Since her launch in 2012, Ebagua has continued to create styles that exude a a fresh jovial energy while remaining effortlessly chic.

Maximilian Davis

Davis, the new creative director at Salvatore Ferragamo, has pulled from his Trinidadian - Jamaican culture for his previous collections; we’re all excited for Milan Fashion Week!

Kingsley Gbadegesin

Creator of the brand K.NGSLY has made it his focus uplift the bodies of black and brown queer bodies by way of his designs, most recently releasing swimwear!

LaQuan Smith

Smith, known for his high-shine style, continues to create designs that always girl-boss vibes!

James Flemons

Flemons’s, a proud advocate for queer rights and equality, continues to push boundaries with his fashion-fluid designs that everyone can feel good in!

Asata Maisé

This 28-year-old designer known for her handcrafted, patchwork handbags continues to explore the many uses upcycling materials while keeping the tradition garment making!

Thebe Magugu

Since his first collection in 2017, the South African designer has been crafting forward-thinking designs that cater to women who crave clothing with a modern edge.

Idris Balogun

The 2022 LVMH Prize finalist, draws inspiration from artist Dumile Feni for his most recent collection Severity of Severance!

Bernard James

James, the Brooklyn-born jewelry designer, draws inspiration from the Brooklyn Botanical Garden for Maxi Flora collection, which has flowers galore!

Telfar Clemens

Already one of the best known Black designers of this generation, Clemens successfully tapped into the energy of New York City with his iconic Telfar shopping bag (dubbed “The Bushwick Birkin” for its status appeal). Because the bags are in such high demand, the designer only releases them through intermittent, limited drops.

Kerby Jean-Raymond

Raymond has pushed fashion forward with his futuristic, experimental designs and most recently has expanded his collection into leather goods and women’s footwear styles.

Maxwell Osborne

Founder of AnOnlyChild (a totally upcycled label), and co-founder of Public School, has looked to his culture and upbringing for his most recent collections.

Ashley Cimone and Moya Annece

‌Creators behind ASHYA, an accessories design label, work to merge utility and style by way of their designs to create elevated travel accessories!

Anifa Mvuemba

‌Bold colors and luxe textures that compliment all of the right curves are exactly what you will find with her label Hanifa.

Martine Ali

This young jewelry designer has focused on bringing back the classic chain-style jewelry that dominated the early 2000s. Her bold designs incorporate safety pins, lockets, and hooks—offering infinite layering possibilities.

Andrea Dumebi Iyamah

The Nigerian-designer continues to stay true to her culture mixing traditional African silhouettes in her designs that create that WOW factor!

Lara Olutunbi

‌Working to create luxury pieces that highlight and uplift women, Lara celebrates the beauty of all women in her designs!

Sai Sankoh

‌Sankoh’s designs are a great mix of vintage glamour and bold colors, taking the mundane and making it extravagant!

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