The Black Panther red carpet bowed last night in LA, with a series of scintillating stars in eye catching ensembles.
From Janelle Monae in Christian Siriano to Lupita Nyong’o in Atelier Versace to the stunning Angela Bassett in Naeem Khan, the carpet overflowed with style and beauty. But where were the black designers?
Underneath a picture of Issa Rae (who looked lovely in Rosie Assoulin), @Jennay.Jenean remarked, “So no Black Designers (African or African-American) were tapped by any folks to make these clothes for the BLACK PANTHER premiere. #WeGottaDoBetter.” @K_Joi_S added, “I noticed that. It’s disappointing.” Indeed. In this era of the black renaissance and #blackexcellence, wouldn’t it be fitting to show love to black fashion at the Premiere of the first Marvel Movie with a primarily Black Cast?
In case stylists and celebs scrambled to come up with gowns befitting of the carpet, behold 10+ black designers they can tap for the next go round.
1. Lisa Folawiyo of Jewel by Lisa
Nigerian Designer Lisa Folawiyo’s garments incorporate West African ankara print, uplifted by ornate adornments.
Each piece is hand woven and embellished–a time intensive process that contributes to the brand’s design integrity.
2. Azede Jean Pierre
Haitian American designer Azede Jean Pierre focuses on whimsical frocks that incorporate unique silhouettes and colors.
And industry darling, Azede’s dresses have been worn by Solange Knowles, Michelle Obama, and more.
3. Maki Oh
Lagos, Nigeria based designer Maki Oh deftly mixes textures and fabrications, playing with abstract prints and patterns.
4. LaQuan Smith
Though he’s more known for his PVC, vinyl, and sheer dresses beloved by the Kardashians, Nicki Minaj, and Rihanna, American designer LaQuan Smith has more in his design repertoire.
His most recent lookbook features dresses with laser cut outs and gold pants that would look brilliant at any premiere.
5. Andrea Iyamah
Andrea Iyamah burst onto the scene with swimwear, but is now making her mark with monochromatic pieces boasting cut outs, pintucks, and flared hems.
With the tagline, African Clothes designed with love in Lagos, Grey Projects features a mixture of everyday and red carpet ready wear.
Based between Nigeria, Ghana, and France, I.AM.ISIGO is a fashion label that melds African sensibility with a bold yet minimal design aesthetic.
8. David Tlale
South African fashion designer David Tlale’s work has been featured at Capetown Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week, and Paris Fashion Week. His collection incorporates simple tones and metallics: think white and black with punches of silver and gold.
9. Sergio Hudson
American designer Sergio Hudson’s pieces are simple yet stunning, and stand out due to bright colors, draping, and superior attention to detail.
10. Jerome Lamaar
Bronx born Jerome Lamaar moonlighted at Baby Phat before launching his eponymous line. Though he does more custom orders, his pieces tend to incorporate sequins and avant garde silhouettes.
11. Bishme Cromartie
Self taught designer Bishme Cromartie offers an artful take on gowns: think gathered sleeves and elongated hems.
12. Duro Olowu
Industry veteran Duro Olowu is known for his punchy mixed prints in bright colors, any of which would have looked fabulous on the purple carpet for last night’s premiere.
13. Off White by Virgil Abloh
Though Mr. Abloh is more known for his luxury streetwear, he still has a few pieces that could rip any red carpet.
Last but not least is Balmain the only European luxury house helmed by a black designer. If stars were wearing Versace and Viktor & Rolf, they surely could have found something from Balmain that suited their fancy.
There are so many other young designers I have personally worn, including Shades of Shea, Marquette 21, and Claude Michelle who would have been happy to have a shot.
Not to mention designers like Tracy Reese, Public School, Helmut Lang as seen by Shawn Oliver, B. Michael America, Kevan Hall, and more who undoubtedly would have been overjoyed to create something custom.
Let’s do better in 2018!
What do you think?