As our country experiences its great awakening, we are here to help you along your path, stylishly outlining 100+ Black Designers and Black Owned Brands You Should Know!
In the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, we decided to create a post, highlighting the breadth and range of talent of Black Creatives and Black Style.
Fashion Bomb Daily has been a resource for Black Designers since 2006, so the list below is a compilation of designers we have covered over the years under our Black Designers tab, along with designers we have featured on some of our various Instagram pages including @FashionBombDaily and @FashionBombMen.
Please note that this list is far from complete, and designers are not ranked. It was extremely hard to keep this list to only 100 designers. Who knows, we might need a book to contain all this talent!
Paging Assouline! At any rate, without further ado…
American Luxury Womenswear Designers
Cushnie is a luxury womenswear brand that is designed by Carly Cushnie. The ready-to-wear brand constantly pushes for empowerment, diversity, and inclusion through its campaigns, runway shows, and even through its influential patrons like Rihanna, Michelle Obama, and Lala Anthony. Cushnie is known for creating fashion-forward pieces that feature unique tailoring in dazzling color ways and bold patterns that are meant to embody “a refined sense of cosmopolitan minimalism and femininity”.
2. Off White
Luxury streetwear brand Off-White is the creation of Virgil Abloh, who met Kanye West when they were both interns at Fendi in 2009. The two became fast friends and collaborators; he would eventually launch Off-White while Kanye pursued his own fashion ventures. Abloh’s unique ability to make simple separates hype with signature yellow hued construction style logo belts, quotes, and the occasional unexpected silhouette, has made him the toast of the fashion town. Virgil’s work led him to a position as the first American of African descent to be the Creative Director of a French Luxury House as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear. His label Off White is a certified celeb favorite, with Bombshells like Rihanna, Bella Hadid, Ciara, Kelly Rowland, and Tracee Ellis Ross slipping into his pieces, which range from casually chic to frothy and fantastic.
When Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss first started in the industry, he used his creations to spark discussion and comment on civil rights issues of the day. Though he has unveiled many runway shows (he specializes in luxurious, streamlined ready to wear for men and women), he first burst onto the scene and made a mark for his revolutionary t-shirts like his “They Have Names” tee that enumerated the names of black men unjustly slain by law enforcement, and his “Juneteenth” tee, worn by Usher, to acknowledge the Juneteenth Holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. He rose to fashion industry prominence when he won a CFDA award in 2018. Since then, he has been embraced by celebrities like Karrueche Tran, Joan Smalls, Jhene Aiko, Saweetie, Lala Anthony, and the list goes on.
Christopher John Rogers is the toast of the fashion town, thanks to his theatrical shows chock full of artful taffeta gowns in bold colors and punchy prints. His couture level frocks have been spied on Tracee Ellis Ross, Gabrielle Union, former First Lady Michelle Obama, and Ashley Graham. He’s newer to the list, but trust us: he’s one to watch, and just getting started.
Born in Ridgeway, South Carolina, Sergio Hudson has dressed all of your favorites, including J.Lo, Janelle Monae, Kendall Jenner, Beyonce, Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Serena Williams, and many more. Inspired by Gianni Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, and Oscar de la Renta, Hudson’s designs are chic, sophisticated, and bold. Simple yet stunning, Hudson stands out due to bright colors, draping, and superior attention to detail.
Shop Select Sergio Hudson pieces at FashionBombDailyShop.com.
Celebrity stylist Jason Rembert, the creative mind behind Rita Ora, Issa Rae, and Marsai Martin’s show stopping style moments, has delved into design with his line, Aliette. The ready to wear collection features feminine pieces that are perfect for his core clientele: young beautiful women with a robust social schedule, who want to stand out and slay.
Young prodigy Azède Jean-Pierre was born in Haiti, then matriculated to SCAD before launching her eponymous line (I always like to say that we were the first to write about her before Elle and Vogue caught wind). Her designs are art filled and undeniably beautiful. Bombshells like Solange and even former First Lady Michelle Obama are fans, and have worn Azède Jean-Pierre to red carpet events and on magazine covers.
Haitian American designer Victor Glemaud is a master of knitwear, cast in 70’s era colors and silhouettes, with a modern, luxurious feel. Issa Rae is an avid fan, and has worn his slinky pieces for formal occasions and appearances on Insecure.
9. Esé Azénabor
Nigerian born, Dallas based designer Esé Azénabor masters couture level gowns for everything from weddings to high wattage events. According to her website, “Esé Azénabor is known for her hand beading with the fines crystals, stones and pearls, hand embroidery on fine French lace and tulle, her structuring with hard tulle, boning and attention to detail.” Her gowns have been spied on Michelle Williams, Taraji P. Henson, Tyra Banks, and more.
10. Romeo Hunte
Romeo Hunte’s collections manage to produce angular edginess for your not-so-average streetwear. Past showings include pieces stripped of any convention featuring a transformative edge to business attire, casual street wear, luxurious outerwear, and your everyday denim. Hunte offers cool insight on just how signature pieces, with the right amount of sweet patterning attached, can elevate a look effortlessly.
Shop at RomeoHunte.com.
Founded by Supermodel Liya Kebede, Lem Lem is, “an artisan-driven sustainable fashion label for women, men and kids.” According to their website, “Supermodel Liya Kebede was inspired to launch the brand following a trip to her native Ethiopia where she met a group of traditional weavers who no longer had a market for their craft. Meaning to bloom and flourish in the Ethiopian language of Amharic, lemlem is committed to elevating artisanship and expanding production and jobs across Africa.”
Learn more at lemlem.com.
12. Studio 189
From their website, “Studio One Eighty Nine co-founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, is an artisan produced fashion lifestyle brand and social enterprise that has recently won the prestigious CFDA Lexus Fashion Initiative for Sustainability. The brand is made in Africa and produces African and African-inspired content and clothing. The brand currently operates a store in NY and Accra (Ghana), an ecommerce site, a manufacturing facility in Accra, and supports various community led projects in Africa and in the USA. Studio 189 works with artisanal communities that specialize in various traditional craftsmanship techniques including natural plant based dye indigo, hand-batik, kente weaving and more. Studio 189 focuses on empowerment, creating jobs and supporting education and skills training and partners with organizations such as the United Nations ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative, NYU Stern School of Business and has collaborated with brands including Lexus. EDUN (LVMH), Fendi, Nike, Opening Ceremony, The Surf Lodge, Okay Africa and Yoox Net a Porter.”
13. La Vie by CK
La Vie by CK stands by “The Life by Claude Kameni,” named after the brand’s Cameroonian born designer. The high octave line specializes in glamorous, make a statement gowns, frequently using Ankara print.
See more here.
14. CD Greene
On his website, CD Greene writes, “Always fascinated with and inspired by art, CD Greene pursued painting, sculpture and graphic art at the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago. His foundation in sculpting is evident throughout his designs as he focuses on form, asymmetrical balance and texture. Signature designs sculpted with mirrors and crystal have made CD Greene a favorite amongst Hollywood royalty and music divas alike.” While Greene is a fashion industry veteran, he has found new light and love from fashion forward starlets like Tracee Ellis Ross, who has plucked his gowns to host awards shows and to star in her latest movie, High Note.
See more here.
International Womenswear Luxury Designers
15. Duro Olowu
Industry veteran Duro Olowu is known for his punchy mixed prints in bright colors. The Nigerian born British designer’s patchwork “Duro” dress was named dress of the year in both American and British Vogue in 2005.
See more here.
Nigerian Designer Lisa Folawiyo’s garments incorporate West African ankara print, uplifted by cut outs and ornate adornments. Her work was most recently seen on Insecure, with costume direction by Shiona Turini.
17. Maki Oh
Lagos, Nigeria based designer Maki Oh deftly mixes textures and fabrications, playing with abstract prints and patterns. From their website: “Founded by Maki Osakwe in 2010, the Maki Oh design ethos challenges prevailing notions of beauty and analyses cultural norms through a womanist lens. The brand is centred in a strong sense of identity and culture, creating narrative pieces that function as direct channels of communication. “
Learn more at MakiOh.com.
18. Thebe Magugu
South African contemporary womenswear designer Thebe Magugu was the recipient of the LVMH prize in 2019 (the first designer to receive the prize from Africa). Magugu’s clothing is bright, bold, and architectural.
See more at ThebeMagugu.com.
19. Tongoro Studios
Started by former magazine editor Sarah Diouf, Senegalese brand Tongoro Studios offers sophisticated prints, beloved by Beyonce and many more. Fun Fact: Diouf created the Fashion Bomb Daily logo many many moons ago.
See more at Tongoro.com.
In a post on Diversity in 2015 on CNN Style, Balmain Creative Director Olivier Rousteing wrote, “When the press announced that I was the new creative director for Balmain the thing that was most shocking for a lot of people was not my age (I was 26 at the time) but my color, and that really surprised me. Suddenly there were all these stories about me being the first black designer in a luxury, heritage fashion house.” While Olivier was not the first (he was preceded by Patrick Robinson and Edward Buchanan), he is certainly one of the most prominent, creating cutting edge, bold, and brilliant designs beloved by everyone in Tinseltown (Beyonce, Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Floyd Mayweather and, J Lo are all fans). Raised in Bordeaux, Rousteing holds a degree from the Parisian fashion school ESMOD (l’Ecole Supérieure des Arts et techniques de la Mode). He spent five years at Roberto Cavalli, and has headed womenswear design at Balmain since 2009. In a 2011 article, Rousteing said, “I plan to honour that confidence by ensuring that Pierre Balmain always remains one of the leading brands that others look to as a reference.”
21. David Tlale
As we wrote here, 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.
22. 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.
23. Wales Bonner
British born designer Grace Wales Bonner originally started her line with menswear, but eventually expanded into womenswear, with pieces worn by Solange Knowles and Meghan Markle, who made her first appearance post birth in a Wales Bonner trench dress.
Shop pieces by Wales Bonner here.
CEOLumineeOfficial is a well known Nigerian couture designer, who counts 1.4 million avid followers who snap up her figure sculpted designs. Her specialty is Aso Ebi ensembles (According to Wikipedia: uniform dress that is traditionally worn in Nigeria and some West African cultures as an indicator of cooperation and solidarity during ceremonies and festive periods) .
25. Stella Jean
Haitian-Italian Stella Jean’s designs showcase Afro-Caribbean prints and artscapes with European tailoring. Beyonce and Rihanna’s patronage helped make Stella Jean more of a household name.
Celebrity Clothing Lines
Executive producer and multimillionaire mogul Diddy launched his eponymous Sean John line in 1988, patterned after his luxurious lifestyle. The brand’s comfy casual velour sets and tailored tuxes led to Diddy receiving the 2004 CFDA Menswear designer of the year, one of only a handful on this list, and the first African-American designer to do so. While the brand has simmered a bit since its heyday in the early 2000’s, it still offers abstract, artistic prints, and has expanded to include eyewear, fragrance, loungewear, bedding, and more.
27. Fenty by Rihanna
Fenty is a luxury fashion house that is headed by singer and all-around entrepreneur, Rihanna. The brand captures the freedom, physique, and overall feminine nature of boss women. Many celebrities like Bella Hadid, Mary J. Blige, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Rico Nasty have been spotted rocking the certified Bomb brand.
28. Yeezy by Kanye West
While Kanye West is known as an uber producer and exceedingly popular rapper, his love for fashion can’t be denied. He stepped onto the hip hop scene as the self professed Louis Vuitton Don, and made waves at fashion weeks all over the world, until he tried his hand at runway with his DW collection, named after his late mother, Donda West. While he had a few frustrations in the beginning of his journey into the style industry (he famously told DJ Sway in the Morning, “You Ain’t Got the Answers, Sway!” when talking about his difficulties breaking into the industry), his Yeezy collaboration with Adidas has been a runaway success. With the help of his wife, Kim Kardashian, and her photogenic family introducing the Yeezy concepts–minimalist ribbed separates, shearling jackets, clear heels, alienesque flats, slightly distressed athleisure wear–Yeezy has become a streetwear staple. While the clothing has been a hit, the shoes are a top seller, with hypebeasts waiting hours on lines to snap them up, and sneakers auctioning on Ebay for hundreds of dollars above retail.
Serena Williams is a fashion icon, known as much for her tennis game as she is known for her daring tennis outfits. Thus, it came naturally for her to delve into her own line, S by Serena, a self described, “Strong, Sexy, Sophisticated” line which offers a range of pieces, best suited for off the court. Aside from her own line, Williams has collaborated with Virgil Abloh and Nike. The sky is the limit for where and what this champion can do next.
Baby Phat was launched by Kimora Lee Simmons in 1999 as an offshoot of then husband Russell Simmons’s Phat Farm line. Baby Phat was the toast of the early 2000’s with celeb laced fashion shows, frothing over with sexy, cocktail dresses, barely-there club tops, and glitter covered accessories. Though Kimora took a break to tend to her growing family, she relaunched the brand in December 2019, with her daughters Ming and Aoki Lee (who were featured in campaigns as kids, and always brought out at the end of every fashion show) as the faces of the brand. The new Baby Phat is mostly casual wear: the brand’s velour track suits are back, along with tees, hoodies, and sweatpants. We can’t wait to see how the brand blooms in the years to come.
Shop the look above here.
American & International Contemporary Womenswear Designers
31. Laquan Smith
Based in NYC, Laquan Smith is a luxury womenswear designer that creates bold, edgy pieces with a feel of which he deems as “unapologetically glamorous.” As spotted on Rihanna, Kendall Jenner, Kim Kardashian, and more, his ultra feminine collections accentuate the female form through the use of enchanting fabrics and sexy detailing such as slits or high cuts.
32. Fe Noel
Fe Noel is more than just fashion…it is a lifestyle. In fact, the brand even identifies as a lifestyle brand for women who carry the philosophy of “eat well, travel often, and dress to inspire.” Founded by Felisha Noel, Fe Noel combines glam and sensuality through the use of graceful fabrics, bold prints, and playful colors. Noel grew up around powerful women and was heavily influenced by them and her Grenadian heritage. To show her admiration for her inspirations, she created Fe Noel to encourage women to celebrate their femininity and look great while on-the-go.
Shop Beyonce’s dress here.
Designer Larissa Muehleder named her NY based brand Muehleder after her family name. Her line has no shortage of cute cocktails and mini frocks, perfect for spring weddings, date nights, or evenings on the town. What started off as a brand bubbling over with feminine ruffles, lace, and flirty high hems morphed into a neoprene heavy brand that blends athleisure with architectural sophistication.
34. These Pink Lips
Iris Barbee Bonner of These Pink Lips creates jackets, dresses, and custom catsuits splashed with graffiti style writing and cartoons, sporting phrases like, “She’s the Boss!” “P*ssy Not War,” and “P*ssy Power.”Her bold colors and unique designs have found fans in Mary J Blige, Alicia Keys, and Cardi B.
Levenity is a contemporary women’s ready-to-wear sportswear brand from Dallas, Texas. While past collections include color block jackets, dresses, and crop top embellished with grommets and mesh, more recent wares are supremely feminine featuring ruffles and drool worthy prints.
Purchase at LeVenity.com.
36. Char Glover
Project Runway Alum Charketa “Char” Glover was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan in a home with her grandmother who was a fashion designer and seamstress. As legacy would have it, she quickly followed in her grandmother’s footsteps. At an early age, Char’s love for fashion turned into designing clothes, and she began reconstructing vintage items into unique, one-of-a-kind creations. With the encouragement of family and friends, she expanded her designs and quickly built a strong following and a large, faithful client base. Char has created custom designs for confident women all over the world who are drawn to her individualistic design quality, including celebrities such as Tyra Banks, Angela Bassett, Michelle Williams and Letoya Luckett of Destiny’s Child, Niecy Nash, Tamia, Ledisi, Keri Hilson, Lalah Hathaway, and Marlo Hampton just to name a few.
37. Bishme Cromartie
Self taught designer Bishme Cromartie offers an artful take on gowns: think gathered sleeves and elongated hems.
38. Laurence Basse
Before making an appearance on the design competition reality show Project Runway, designer Laurence Basse modeled for 15 years, working with brands such as Jean-Paul Gaultier and appearing in magazines like Cosmopolitan. Known for created sculptural outerwear, her designs were most recently spotted not once, but twice, on Insecure star Yvonne Orji.
39. Sai Sankoh
Sierra Leone born, Dallas based Sai Sankoh is the creator of fabulous printed dresses, kaftans, and coverups for her eponymous brand. She says, “A lot of my prints are inspired by where I am from, where I have lived, and my previous travel destinations. I have lived a colorful, glamorous and exciting jet setter lifestyle, and that translates in my designs. I love the Zen nature of Bali, the vibrancy of Ghana, and the extravagance of Dubai, and I try to blend all of those vibes into creating a print or a piece.”
Shop Sai Sankoh here.
40. Preppy Trendy
Founded in 2013, Preppy Trendy is a sustainable concept boutique based in New York City, that champions slow fashion. They create hip and stylish clothing pieces that are made with salvaged fabrics and garments that aren’t donated or reused. Conscious Fashion is their mission. They say, “To show our care and respect for the environment and the planet, we make it our mission to up cycle these clothes. We salvage vintage clothing, mostly designer pieces that are damaged or partly destroyed, and bring them back to life with a fresh, fun, and young twist. By doing this, we allow them to be appreciated as contemporary fashion. Our skirts and t-shirts are made out of leftover fabric from the fashion industry that we mostly source at Fabscrap.org . What we’re doing might sound like just a grain of sand, but we believe that it’s a grain of hope toward eradicating pollution.”
Since its inception in 2011, Hanifa has been steadily gaining lots of attention especially with stars like Ciara, Kylie Jenner, and Karrueche Tran. Hanifa is a ready-to-wear brand operated by Anifa Mvuemba that offers contemporary pieces for the modern-day woman. The label offers a breathe of fresh air through 21st century design elements and delicate fabrics.
Shop at Hanifa.co.
Nigerian American Oyemwen wasn’t always in the world of fashion. She got a degree in Biology from Atlanta Metropolitan, and was on the pre-med track! She said, “Even with a B.S in Biology pre-med, for me a fashion journey was inevitable. Growing up, my parents were merchants. They imported and exported textiles. So I’ve been immersed in textiles and the fashion world all my life.” With a brand she identifies simply as, “From tomboy to princess,” Oyemwen stocks everything from chic suits to ruffled tops to bell bottom jeans and of course, tutus!
Rayar Jeans kickstarted the chain jeans revolution with their distressed, slim fit denim, given a boost with the addition of customizable chains that don’t rust, don’t turn colors, and can fit various sizes. Often imitated, but rarely duplicated, Rayar Jeans are in a class of their own. The chains are sourced from an exclusive retailer in the Middle East, ensuring high quality and lasting shine. It also means that all the ‘look-a-likes’ out there don’t stand a chance.
Philadelphia born Saudia Islam is the designer behind JBD Apparel, a luxury knitwear brand that is taking a creative, modern approach to a traditional concept. Islam adds, “We are black owned and proud of it as well!” She burst onto the scene as a beloved, featured designer of Kim Kardashian, who has worn the brand’s pink Zenith set and their blue corset style top.
Shop some of her pieces here.
45. Milano Di Rouge
Milano di Rouge’s speciality is simple sportswear with a luxurious feel. Each piece sports the brand logo, stamping jumpsuits, dresses, and tees, with the designer’s sensibility of sophisticated American athleisure.
Shop at MilanoDiRouge.com.
46 .Mah Jing Wong
A graduate of the Arts Institute of Philadelphia, Mah Jing Wong is known for his sportswear and innovative denim creations. In 2016, he appeared on Project Runway, and placed sixth overall. His extremely sexy sets were most recently spied on Cardi B, who hit Men’s Fashion Week in Paris in sheer catsuit and sheer purple sets.
Learn more and shop at MahJingWong.com.
47. Samantha Black
Samantha Black (formerly Sammy B) cut her teeth in New York as a designer before matriculating on Project Runway for Season 11. Though she did not win Project Runway, her designs are certainly winners with fans like Kelly Rowland, Beyonce, and Gabrielle Union.
Shop her designs here.
48. Midget Giraffe
Established in 2015, Midget Giraffe constructs Ankara fabrics in contemporary ways. According to their website, “Founder, Linda is a part of the Igbo ethnic group and grew up in Southern Nigeria. As a young girl she was inundated with beautiful local fabrics (name “Ankara”) and colorful local marketplaces populated with rich colors of food, fruits, and savvy business women selling prints for clothes-making. Linda’s creative mind was cultivated near her grandmothers feet where she would watch her sew beautiful designs using many of the fabrics she’d recall from the marketplace. “
49. Harx 4
Renee Hill is the designer of brand Harx 4, a line known for its futuristic, urban feel. While many are familiar with her from the latest season of Project Runway, we were introduced to Hill via this Versa coat, which can be worn a myriad of ways. On her website, she writes, “Renee Hill was born in Philadelphia. Growing up watching her mother create elaborate ball gowns and wedding dresses ignited a spark for design. Surrounded by bold fabrics and creative designs, it is hard to say she would have the same creative nature without those influences. While living in New York for several years, the adventures definitely helped build the creativity exhibited through her brand today. Having traveled around the world, Renee has encountered men from different cultures and gained an understanding of personal styles and men’s fashions specific to certain regions. Harx4 gives her the opportunity to give men and women an expression of style and confidence to stand the test of time.”
See more here.
With the tagline, “If I can measure it, I can make it!!” Atlanta based custom designer Beeombi is a favorite of young vixens looking to shut it down, and has been worn by Porsha Williams, Teyana Taylor, and many others.
Follow them for more on Instagram @Beoombi.
Newark, New Jersey native and Atlanta resident Shanita Denton got her start because she would always get clothes made–until her garment designer encouraged her to learn how to sew herself! She said, “I’ve always loved putting looks together and sketching ideas for others designers to make for me personally. So all it took was for 1 woman to believe in me and teach me how to sew. Once I made my first garment it became an addiction and I found purpose in it.” She continues, “S. Denton Collection is every woman. It’s a lifestyle. S. Denton Collection is empowering fun flirty & sparkly yet sexy for woman of all shapes, sizes, and colors.”
Shop S. Denton Collection here.
52. House of Chapple
A native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Reco Chapple made a splash in the fashion world in Atlanta, Georgia, where he created custom pieces for Atlanta celebrities like Kandi Burress, Marlo Hampton, and others. With a design aesthetic that consistently evolves, Chapple’s latest offerings include high slit gowns, slightly sheer tops, and flirty mini dresses.
53. Duckie Confetti
Duckie Confetti masters creative pieces, from furs to leopard, money and camouflage prints. He is one of the industry’s go to’s for custom pieces and fluffy fur slippers.
A native of Oakland California, Byron Lars began designing for himself and friends, and trained later at the Brooks Fashion Institute in Long Beach and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Lars’ 1991 collection was hugely popular, earning him the title of “Rookie of the Year” by Women’s Wear Daily. His designs sold in Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, and Henri Bendel. But after a licensing deal went wrong, he was forced to quit his design business. He came back in 1996, when Mattel asked him to design a collectible Barbie doll, complete with her own wardrobe. His Barbie designs proved so successful Mattel asked Lars in 1997 to develop an entire line of African American Barbie dolls, all dressed in designer clothes. Since then, he has made a comeback with his Byron Lars Beauty Mark Brand, which has been embraced by many including Naturi Naughton, MC Lyte, Kim Fields, and others.
Purchase at ByronLarsBeautyMark.com.
Tracy Reese’s whimsical, brightly colored, floral frocks have been famously worn by Sarah Jessica Parker, former First Lady Michelle Obama, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Taraji P. Henson (to name a few). The Parson’s School of Design Graduate and CFDA Member was frequently one of few black designers to consistently show at fashion week for several years.
Shop her most recent designs at HopeforFlowers.com.
56. J. Bailey
Brooklyn born J. Bailey launched her line in 2006, a line she describes as, “a Street Couture Brand with a Cultivated Flare.” Her celebrity client list grows day by day.
Shop at JBaileyOnline.com.
57. Aisha McShaw
After spending 10 years in banking, Aisha McShaw discovered her passion for fashion and started in the industry as a stylist to celebrities, corporate figureheads, and other successful women. Through styling, she learned how to fit women and cater garments specifically to their bodies, helping her in the development of her made-to-order brand. Aisha McShaw describes her brand’s mission: “As a made-to-order brand, our goal is to help women feel their most confident self when wearing a piece from Aisha McShaw. Through communication with our clients, we can create a wardrobe of perfectly fitting timeless pieces for you to wear year after year as well as garments designed specifically just for you to wear to events.“
Pre-order and explore Aisha McShaw’s collections here.
58. Korto Momolu
Liberian born Project Runway alum Korto Momolu offers fashion forward contemporary womenswear, inspired by her African roots. The graduate of L’Academies des Couturiers Design Institute in Ottawa, Ontario, Momolu is known for vibrant patterns and pieces cut for a range of body types.
See more here.
59. Haus of Shea
Brooklyn based designer LaSheaya Diaz grew up around fashion–her mother was an administrator and VIP liaison at Tommy Hilfiger, and Diaz was surrounded by design from a young age. She interned at Hilfiger and learned the ropes before launching her sur mesure brand. Haus of Shea specializes in everything from made to measure prom dresses to red carpet worthy frocks, with curvy Bombshells in mind.
Shop more at HausofShea.co.
60. Traci Couture
Oakland based Traci Couture is the Crochet Queen and taught herself the craft. She says, “I enjoy learning new things and am naturally very curious and imaginative. Couple that, with equal parts obsession… Traci Couture the brand is method to my madness. I took the leap into business in 2004, nudged by the birth of my first born. That experience really pushed me to examine and prioritize what is sacred to me. To create the life I want, doing what I love.”
Shop select pieces at FashionBombDailyShop.com .
61. Philthy Ragz
Inglewood, California designer Gaynelle Winston White of the brand Philthy Ragz started her brand, as she says, with a prayer. She says, ” I was in a situation where I was separating with my ex husband after 17 years. I was afraid. I did not want to go work for Target, Macys, or Walmart to get a 2nd income. My prayer was, “GOD, use my hands to make room for my life.” What resulted was a brand of comfortable pieces that work for any age and any occasion. Watch more below:
Shop Philthy Ragz here.
62. TLZ L Femme
TLZ L Femme is headed and designed by Aazhia Rhy who started the brand with no design experience but built it up into something beyond measures through trial and error. Now, the brand is particular favorite of celebrities like Kylie Jenner and fashionistas like our very own EIC Claire Sulmers. Through her avant garde-like designs, Aazhia celebrates women through her work and created the brand with them in mind to tell a story and overall make them feel good in what they wear.
63. Shane Justin
Shane Justin is known for skin clinging separates and slick heels, made for the younger, sassy set. With ‘It Girls’ like Jayda Cheaves and Ari the Don as Brand Ambassadors, Justin always has trouble keeping his cute pieces in stock.
64. Marquette 21
Marquette 21 is a Fashion Bomb favorite, known for creating curve conscious gowns and dresses for the girl who embraces unabated glamour. Marquette 21 famously designed the pieces I wore on my book cover for The Bomb Life.
Follow him on Instagram @Marquette21.
65. Shop Sarleamah
Blogger Sarlea Ma from DC transferred her impeccable personal style into a line of well tailored separates, including peplum jackets, pencil skirts, and fascinator hats to match.
66. Undra Celeste
Undra Celeste once told Fashion Bomb Daily, “My family came from Guyana, worked really hard, doing a lot of domestic jobs. On the weekends, I have about 100 cousins. We would go to my grandmother’s house and we would put on music and we would transform into Diana Ross. Coming to this country, dealing with hardship, working in a domestic capacity, clothes were their armor. [They wore lots of bright colors], a lot of gold lamé, and big hair. They’re my inspiration.”
See more at UndraCelesteNewYork.com.
67. Kimberly Goldson
Kimberly Goldson once told FBD, “We’re known for our suits. We want be to suits what Diane von Furstenberg is to the wrap dress. “We’re doing casual suits, relaxed, soft crepes, and we also have tuxedo inspired suits for evening. We’re showing you how to dress it up and down.”
Purchase at KimberlyGoldson.com.
“It’s not for you — it’s for everyone.” Established in 2005, Telfar is unisex brand founded by Telfar Clemons that unwillingly makes it known that it makes clothes for everyone through gender-fluidity in its runway shows and campaigns. As a winner of the CFDA Fashion Fund, Clemons is known for pushing the envelope through progressive and thought-provoking clothing and accessories.
69. Fashionn Junkiee
The mother and daughter team behind Fashion Junkiee design custom handmade clothing. They are popular for taking rock band tees, and cutting and remaking them into sets, mermaid style dresses, and pencil skirts. Celebs like Tamia, Nene Leakes, and Juju are fans.
Purchase at ShopFJC.com.
70 . Okera Banks
Stylist Okera Banks created her eponymous line for girls on the go. Fashioned out of stretched jersey, the line comprises halter neck and strapless harem jumpsuits, loose fit cardigans, and fun dresses that are perfect for leisure, travel, and more.
71. William Okpo
Nigerian American Sisters Darlene and Lizzy Okpo named their fashion line, William Okpo, after their father, and infused their parents personal style into their garments. On their website, they say, “The Okpo sisters wish to illustrate the unique aesthetic that results from the juxtaposition of the immigrant’s sense of style against American cultural sensibilities, offering the modern feminine designs with touches of masculine elements. William Okpo is for women who celebrate their cultivated sense of style.” The brand has been embraced by Solange Knowles, Melina Matsoukas, and more.
Shop at WilliamOkpo.com.
72. HMN ALNS
33 year old Delaware State University alum Phillip Mimms is the creative mind behind HMN ALNS, a brand of sportswear equipped with bold colors and sexy silhouettes, beloved by Draya Michele, the Clermont Twins, Winnie Harlow, and more. Mimms tells Fashion Bomb Daily, “The brand was originally just an artist tag for my artwork. I never planned on becoming a designer. It became a fashion brand when my shoe artwork was brought to life by a collaboration with a popular shoe company. Overnight, HMN ALNS went from visual art, to designer brand.” The name HMN ALNS stands for, “...Being creatively you. Being inspired but making it your own. Its about taking from the pot of inspiration while also contributing to it. Innovation and leadership.”
L.A.-based clothing brand Grayscale became popular thanks to their viral vinyl Underbust Corset skirt. Since then, they have expanded to bold silhouettes using unusual fabrics and bright hues, worn by it girls like Jenna Karleusa, Blac Chyna, and Jerrika Karlae.
See more here.
74. Nicci Hou
Atlanta based designer Nicci Hou’s signatures are supremely feminine: think peplums, nipped waists, and cascading skirts. The designer’s custom creations have been worn by everyone from Blue Ivy to Dej Loaf and Janelle Monae.
See more on Instagram @NicciHouCollection.
The Kardashian Wests recently posted a family photo wearing looks by Mowalola, a Nigerian born designer who is now squarely on our radar. In an interview on Ssense, she says, “My grandmother started a womenswear brand in the 80s, in Nigeria, which my mum worked on. Both of them were designers. My dad does menswear—traditional Nigerian menswear. Clothes are a really big thing in our household. Growing up, I didn’t know too much about it in terms of seasons, designers and stuff, because being in Nigeria, I was kind of cut off from the rest of the world. I didn’t have Wi-Fi, I only saw what I saw on TV. My parents allowing me to go to England, to focus on that more was really great, because in Nigeria, they just don’t see fashion as something worth even spending money on, like for studies or for developing.” Her line is sex on a platter: mini skirts, low slung pants, shirts affixed with one button, all cast in PVC and leather. She’s one to watch.
Shop looks here.
Launched in 2015, Ofuure carries African printed dresses and fabulous patterned swim separates. According to their website, “Ofure is an Ishan word meaning “it is well” from EDO state, NIGERIA.” Visit their site for fabulous separates, swimsuits, cover ups, and matching head wraps.
Shop at Ofuure.com.
Lingerie and Swimwear Brands
Turn heads on the beach with Bfyne’s culturally designed swim. Not only are the designs fun and eccentric, but the details are super sexy and flattering to the body. Bad hair day? No problem! Bfyne’s latest collection has matching head wraps to match their designs and come together for one bomb beach look.
Shop at BFyne.com.
78. Nude Barre
Nude Barre tights are a specialty line of eco friendly undergarments made in 16 shades of nude to match most skin tones. The line was started in 2009 by Erin Carpenter, a former dancer who always had issues finding undergarments to that came in her shade. On the site, she says, “We were required to wear nude undergarments as part of our uniform and therefore spent hours dying/spray painting tights and shoes as most hosiery brands did not produce the appropriate shade of nude.” Thus Nude Barre was born, with an arsenal of tights, thongs, and bras with names like Ginger, Pecan, Almond Joy, and Tapioca Cream.
Purchase your pair here.
79. TyLynn Nguyen
Tyynn Nguyen’s supremely sexy lingerie sets are made from French lace and silk charmeuse, and add a je ne sai quoi to your every day bra and panty set. They were most recently worn by Jodie Turner Smith in Queen & Slim.
American and International Menswear Designers
80. Ozwald Boateng
A British haberdasher of Ghanaian descent, Ozwald Boateng is known to infuse bold colors and sharp cuts into traditional British bespoke tailoring. Spike Lee, Jamie Foxx, Diddy, and Idris Elba tap Boateng for custom suits, and his brightly colored clothing was featured in the Black Panther movie with costume design by Ruth Carter.
See more here.
81. Fear of God
Fear of GOD founder Jerry Lorenzo transferred his impeccable personal style into a brand that is beloved by fashion insiders: Kanye West, Big Sean, and even Janet Jackson are fans. Fear of GOD is known for effortless every day wear, including sweats, plaid shirts, and varsity jackets.
Shop at FearofGod.com.
82. Hideoki Bespoke
Dedrick Thomas is the owner of Hideoki Bespoke, a lifestyle and luxury brand that specializes in custom suits and tuxes for men (and women) who mean business. You’ve assuredly seen the brand’s expert craftsmanship and made to measure pieces on the backs of fashionable men like T.I., Gucci Mane, Steve Harvey, and More. Dedrick Thomas is a graduate of the college of Engineering at Mississippi State University, and launched his brand because he, as an executive, couldn’t find the high quality and superior customer service he sought. He said, “Being an executive in an arena where image is everything, I found myself purchasing custom clothing as the result of the limited options and inadequate customer service of upscale and premium department stores. When even the experience of using a tailor did not live up to its promise, I went a step beyond to design clothes for myself. This was the birth of Hideoki Bespoke.”
It’s a family affair over at Harlem Haberdashery which is the retail hub of 5001 Flavors, a brand that has been creating iconic looks for hip hop insiders since the 90’s. When Hip Hop Heavyweights like Heavy D, Notorious BIG, Diddy, Mase, DJ Khaled and more need custom suits, they look no further than 5001 Flavors and Harlem Haberdashery at 245 Malcom X Boulevard.
The brand is veritable bastion in the hip hop fashion industry. See more here.
84. Dapper Dan
Dapper Dan is a legend. In the 80’s era, the street couturier spoke to the sartorial tastes of rappers, drug dealers, and athletes who had a distinctive palette for luxury with a dash of cool. Dan was known as the man who could transform a trendy winter jacket into a logo laden piece, emblazoning it with the monograms of Italian and French fashion houses by screen printing their symbols onto leather using a fade resistant ink. Fendi, among others, ended up suing Dan for copyright infringement several times, until Dan had to shutter his doors. In the ultimate plot twist, Gucci ended up stealing something from Dan for their Cruise 2018 collection–the exact silhouette of his fabled puff sleeve jacket, originally equipped with Louis Vuitton fabric. This public foible led to a considerable outcry, and thus the resurgence of Dan’s brand, who emerged as an official partner for Gucci in 2017, creating capsule collections embraced by a new era of pop stars including DJ Khaled, Beyonce, Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige, and more .
Read more about his story in his memoir.
Haitian American Ouigi Theodore of the Brooklyn Circus produces cool, preppy pieces with University swagger. In his repertoire: Varsity Jackets and cardigans, printed wool hats, and simple khakis.
Shop at TheBkCircus.com.
86. Rich Fresh
Talented tailor Patrick Henry, creator of the Rich Fresh brand, started sewing when he was only 13 years old. After working for Ermenegildo Zegna, Henry branched out to create his own line, “Rich Fresh.” Though he specializes in clean cut, custom pieces beloved by Lena Waithe, Dwyane Wade, and Kevin Hart, he’s no stranger to dressing full families in color coordinated looks:
Follow on Instagram @RichFresh.
From Fashion Bomber of the Year to haberdasher? Yes, this all happened on Fashion Bomb Daily. Davidson Petit-Frere appeared on our screens in 2012 as a dapper real estate investor who preferred custom made suits over right off the rack. He clearly had skill (the response to him was overwhelming, so much so that he was crowed Fashion Bomber of the Year). Perhaps fueled by the reception, Frere went on to create Frere, a line of bespoke suits and tuxes. What started off as him suiting himself nicely for work mushroomed into a booming business with suits and blazers worn by Kevin Hart, Diggy Simmons, Mack Wilds, and More.
See more at FrereNY.com.
88. Exclusive Game
The contemporary Dapper Dan, Exclusive Game, specializes in taking authentic designer scarves, robes, and shirts, and remixing them with a hip hop flair. His costumers include every rapper with swag you can name, from Yo Gotti to Rick Ross, YFN Lucci, Money Bagg Yo, Meek Mill, and more.
Check out his creations at @ExclusiveGame.
89. Just Don
Everyone in the Kanye West crew has a clothing line, and longtime manager and G.O.O.D. music executive Don C is no exception! His Just Don line is firmly rooted in athletic wear, and features socks, tees, boxing shorts, and leather jackets with sports motifs.
90. Public School
A heavyweight in the industry, Public School is run by Maxwell Osbourne and his business partner Dao-Yi Chow. The designers are known for their streetwise, update on elevated basics but has been rapidly expanding their territory.
See more at PublicSchoolNYC.com.
Nroda sunglasses designer Samantha Smikle says, “Nroda is luxe and innovative hand designed eyewear featuring 24k gold plated elements and crystals for the unapologetically confident and stylish. Nroda eyewear is for the people by the people. I aim to serve my multicultural brothers and sisters. I look to what we have worn (Aaliyah, Lil Kim, Tupac and Lisa Bonet are some of my constant inspirations), what we are wearing now and where I envision the trends will be tomorrow in order to conceptualize what I design today. “
Shop Nroda here.
92. Frances Grey
Frances Grey designer Debbie Lorenzo describes her brand as, “A luxury millinery brand born out of my love for hats, empowerment and family legacy. Each design embodies simplicity and a timeless sophistication. ”
Shop select Frances Grey hats here.
93. Brother Vellies
Brother Vellies is an accessories brands that fosters the feel of African nature and culture. Founded by Aurora James, the brand creates footwear and accessories handmade on the Eastern and Southern coasts of Africa that uphold the ancestral notions of durability and spirit. The free-flowing aesthetic of Brother Vellies has attracted the likes of Solange and sister Beyonce, and makes frequent cameos on hit shows like Insecure.
Purchase Brother Vellies here.
Haitian American designer Sybille Guichard discovered her love for design while in the hospital, battling Crohn’s disease. She says, “I have Crohn’s disease. Been through life and death and back for 17 years now. I even finally opened my nutrition center last year, that closed down 3 days after my grand opening because I ended up in the hospital for 3 months with life threatening complications of Crohn’s. But God had another plan for me. I had been thinking hard a few years prior that after I open my center, I would really look into starting a shoe line. But I needed to focus on one goal at a time. So as I layed in my hospital bed my cousin bought me a sketch book, I drew so many different things but shoes was the main inspiration. I started drawing as if SybG was a real brand. So on my days I felt ok enough to be on my phone, I would search the web for information on how to produce a shoe from scratch. Before you know it I was writing my manufacturer and they said they can make my shoe. By the time I got out the hospital I had my first sample in production and on its way to my house. “
What an inspiring story! Purchase Sybille Guichard shoes here. Get 19% off this weekend only using the code Juneteenth.
95. High End Junkie
Chicago based brand High End Junkie was created by Q Hudson, who admits to being a Junkie for the High End things in life! While High End junkie carries branded apparel and face masks, they are best known for their artistic, paint splattered hats, some of which read, “This is Art, This is Fashion.”
Get yours at FashionBombDailyShop.com.
In case you haven’t heard of Sister Love MJB, here’s the 411: accessories lover Simone I. Smith launched her eponymous jewelry line in 2011 to satisfy her passion for fashion accessories and also give back to her community. A 14-year-cancer survivor, it was important for Simone that a portion of proceeds of each jewelry sale went back to the American Cancer Society. In 2018, Simone partnered with long time friend Mary J. Blige to create Sister Love MJB. Their collection references hip hop culture of the 80’s and 90’s with big silver or gold hoops, door knockers, and gold chains. The collection immediately took off, with fly fashionistas like Misa Hylton, Taraji P. Henson, Tamron Hall, Missy Elliott, Keke, and so many more rocking their accessories for everything from regular outings to TV appearances.
Shop their selection here.
97. Aminah Jillil
Anchorage, Alaska native Aminah Abdul Jillil was a background dancer for Britney Spears and Janet Jackson before launching her eponymous line of shoes. Her bow pumps burst onto the scene and onto the soles of dozens of bloggers and street style stars. Though Aminah’s bow pumps have been replicated by various brands, Jillil kept the creativity going with studded and coin adorned flats, embellished pumps, and more.
Legacy Urban Fashion Brands
98. Karl Kani
Karl Kani started designing clothes at age 16, going to his father’s tailor to create custom looks. Eventually his line of bold, urban threads took off and became embraced by Hip Hop Legends like Tupac, Aaliyah, The Notorious BIG, Snoop Dogg, Diddy and more. In recent years, Kani has reimagined the brand, giving it a youthful spin with collaborations with fast fashion brands like Pretty Little Thing. To this day, Karl Kani remains one of the originators of Urban Wear. Check out our interview with Kani below:
Heritage lifestyle brand Walker Wear was a mainstay in the beginnings of urban hip hop brands, helmed by April Walker. According to their website, “As the first woman in this lane, she’s also one of the first to dominate in urban menswear, securing celebrity endorsements from the likes of legends, like Tupac, Notorious B.I.G. and even Beavis and Butt-Head. Her brand was one of the first to open distribution doors and command millions in sales, and the Walker Wear lifestyle brand still thrives today.”
No list of 100 black designers would be complete with FUBU, the brand that stands for For Us, By Us. Founded in 1992 by Daymond John, J. Alexander Martin, Keith Perrin, and Carlton Brown, their initial collection consisted of 80 hats and eventually evolved into casual wear, sportswear, suits, eyewear, belts, and shoes. In 2003, FUBU mostly withdrew from the US market, and focused on Saudi Arabia, China, and South Africa; by 2009, the company’s revenue was $200 million. In 2018, FUBU relaunched in the US, and the brand was acquired by Puma for $300 Million. You can catch one of the original founders of FUBU, Daymond John, making deals on CNBC’s Shark Tank as one of the series few African-American faces. FUBU is an American legend, and set the stage for many brands today, showing that black design can be unique, profitable, and also globally embraced.
Every designer featured stands on the shoulders on the shoulders of our Black Fashion History Legends, Elizabeth Keckley, Patrick Kelley, Ann Lowe, Willi Smith, Jeffrey Banks, Stephen Burrows, and so many more. Not familiar with those names? Read about them in our Black History Month archive.
As you can see from my photos wearing several designers, supporting black designers is not a trend, it’s a lifestyle.
Special shout out to celebrities and stylists who use their large platforms to amplify black design and creativity, like Tracee Ellis Ross (styled by Karla Welch), Wendy Williams (styled by Willie Sinclair III), Kim Kardashian, Gabrielle Union (styled by Thomas Christos), Dwyane Wade, Kevin Hart, Issa Rae (styled by Jason Rembert), Solange Knowles, Beyonce (styled by Zerina Akers), and former First Lady Michelle Obama (styled by Meredith Koop). Also special shout out to costume designers like Shiona Turini and Ruth Carter who are intentional about using and including black designers on TV and Movies.
Shop a selection of the designers above at FashionBombDailyShop.com and if you want your brand added to our list, stay tuned for the launch of BlackDesignerDirectory.com. We also might release a part 2 to this list. If you’d like your brand included, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*The list is comprised of designers who create original pieces, not boutiques, in no particular order.
**It was actually quite difficult to keep this list to 100. If anyone ever says they can’t find a black designer, they are making excuses. The choices are infinite!
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