8 Black Fashion Brands You Should Know in 2019: Cushnie, Hanifa & More
In honor of Black History Month.
Disruption in the fashion industry typically doesn’t happen overnight. Rather than gentle whispers, disruption pushes forth concepts that can be seen as refreshing and full of life. For countless years, black designers have existed within the industry and created pieces that speak to the colorful history of their backgrounds. They’ve been taking the reigns and pushing forth their agendas which consisted of diverse models and memorable storytelling.
In honor of Black History Month, we’re shedding light on eight black designers worth paying attention to this year. For these individuals, 2018 was a year filled with high points and significant accolades. A few of our selections include Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss, Shanel Campbell of Shanel and Recho Omondi of her namesake label.
Founded in 2013, Pyer Moss is Kerby Jean-Raymond’s brainchild named after his mother Vania Moss-Pierre. For his ready-to-wear label, Raymond has looked to his roots and political perspectives for inspiration in the past. Last year, the Haitian-American designer was introduced to a new audience when he took home the prestigious CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund prize. Additionally, his 2018 was marked by numerous sneaker collaborations with Reebok. On the later portion of the year, Michelle Obama and Anderson .Paak were seen in his designs.
This past May, Shanel Campbell experienced a breakthrough moment as a designer: Solange Knowles wore pieces from her Parsons graduate collection. The 26-year-old Bronx native with Afro-Caribbean roots is known for centering black women in her work. During the Spring/Summer 2019 season of New York Fashion Week, Campbell debuted her first collection. For the presentation, 18 black women donned her meticulous pieces which were aesthetically unique and striking. Her designs have also been worn by Issa Rae and Tracee Ellis Ross.
LaQuan Smith began his eponymous brand when he was just 21 years old. He notes that his upbringing consisted of learning to sew from his grandmother. In the recent past his pieces have been worn by the likes of Beyoncé, Cardi B and more. In 2018, Smith released a wildly popular collaboration with ASOS which featured size-inclusive pieces. His work is most known for its intrinsically sexy nature. Without a doubt, 2019 will be a banner year for the Queens, New York native. We’re excited to see what he has up his sleeve.
Kenyan-American designer Recho Omondi’s namesake label OMONDI has been on our radar for quite some time. She began making clothes in 2010. What drives forward the brand’s DNA is Omondi’s background: her hometown Nowhere, Oklahoma, her time studying fashion design at the Savannah College of Art and Design and her summers in Nairobi, Kenya. Her work isn’t just aesthetically pleasing and whimsical, it’s also an undeniable representation of New York’s underground fashion industry.
Recho has also launched The Cutting Room Floor, a sumptuous podcast which explores the business of fashion. Past guests include Heron Preston and Driely Carter. The fashion label counts Issa Rae and Solange Knowles as fans.
Nigerian-born designer Teni Adeoloa‘s fashion line Slashed by Tia is filled with Victorian-inspired separates. The label has risen meteorically via Instagram thanks to it being worn by celebrities including Gigi Hadid, SZA and even Dua Lipa. Despite the numerous celeb cosigns, it’s a breath of fresh air to see Adeoloa’s diverse campaigns which purposely feature black models. Teni has noted that her upbringing paired with her ongoing studies at Parsons led to her striking aesthetic.
In 2012, Grenadian designer Felisha Noel created her first fashion collection. She rebranded in 2015 as Fe Noel and debuted her first New York Fashion Week show with Harlem’s Fashion Row. In 2018, she teamed up again with HFR and two other black female designers to create a sneaker design for LeBron James. Fe Noel’s luxury womenswear pieces are stunning and color-heavy. Each garment is a representation of her love for Caribbean culture and effortless elegance.
Established in 2008, Cushnie is designed by its CEO and creative director Karlie Cushnie. Karlie’s designs are well known for their sleek, well-tailored silhouettes. The Cushnie aesthetic is unforgettable, intrinsically chic and worth filled with femininity. The luxury women’s ready-to-wear and accessories label was originally coined Cushnie Et Ochs. In the past, the line has been worn by Michelle Obama, Lupita Nyong’o and Ava DuVernay.
Anifa Mvuemba‘s fashion line Hanifa originally debuted back in 2012. According to ELLE, the former Morgan State University student began creating her designs after dropping out of school. The sophisticated pieces and numerous footwear releases she creates have led to a robust Instagram following. What’s refreshing about Hanifa is the bold color palettes Anifa selects and the experimental silhouettes she shares in drops a few times out of the year. Since she began marching to the beat of her own drum, Anifa’s work has been worn by Ciara and she has even opened a boutique in Maryland.