Black Fashion Designers Who ARE Changing the Industry

Image Courtesy of 34th Street Magazine

Black culture has been the core of many design ideas and trends for decades now. And as fashion trends come and go, it’s important to recognize the designers that take the extra step to challenge the norm. Here’s a couple of new Black designers that are taking matters into their own hands and ‘ripping a stitch’ within the industry!

Telfar Clemens & Telfar

It’s hard to talk about Black Designers today without recognizing the brilliant work of Telfar Clemens. There’s an entire culture surrounding themselves with his self-named bags which other brands can only hope to achieve. A true testament to what happens when you keep nurturing your craft without the worry of instant gratification.

Images Courtesy of HuffPost

Telfar started his brand in 2005, however it didn’t start gaining true popularity until around 2017. Now boasting 1.2M Instagram followers, Telfar has surpassed the hype. With the “shopping bag” being the brand’s most popular and recognizable silhouette available in a rainbow of colors. Telfar is not afraid to reimagine the norm. Through collaborations with Ugg, Moose Knuckles, and now Eastpak, the brand is centered around random drops and restocks. This cleaver marketing ploy keeps his customers invested and eagerly watching for his next move. If you don’t know, there’s a the formula for purchasing a Telfar bag and everybody wants in. Fast forward, to help solve for the demand, he has reinvented the formula with his Bag Security Program, where for just a few days, every bag, in every color and size is available. The catch? These bags are all made to order, meaning they’ll ship out anytime during a span of 2-3 months. This solution, along with his overall marketing approach really attests to the brand motto of “Not for you– For everyone”.

Images Courtesy of Fashionista

Antoine Manning and Homage Year

Established in 2014 by Antoine Manning, Homage Year’s Ova Bag sports a unique silhouette that makes it hard to miss and quite unforgettable. At only 23, Antoine prides himself on how people connect with his brand on an emotional level. On their site they describe everything they create as “charged with socio political intention”. A strong term to use, especially to describe accessories but it speaks to what they value as a brand and where they stand amongst their community not just of black people, but black designers as well. Constantly releasing in vibrant colorways, each color is meant to represent a specific virtue. For example, the two-toned pink bag was meant to represent passion while the brown one represents unity. In assigning these colorways a virtue. Manning is not only further connecting with his customers on an emotional level but also trying to urge them forward. Hence why his bags have been dubbed “The Manifestation Bags”. With Homage Year now highly sought after and available in Saks Fifth Ave, it's both exciting and hard to imagine what the young mogul will do next.

Anifa Mvuemba & Hanifa

While no stranger to the fashion and styling scene, Anifa Mvuemba and her brand Hanifa has cemented itself as a trailblazer. She first shook up the industry in 2020, where she debuted a collection of clothes with a 3-D digital presentation as opposed to using actual models. This collection was also a tribute to her Congolese heritage as each piece from “The Pink Label Congo” meant to represent a different aspect of the country. This strategy was also used to raise awareness for the Congolese mines where the IG Live show started with a short documentary on the experience of children working in the mines. Anifa was also able to attract people to the brand with a personal story, allowing her beautiful designs and the remarkable use of technology to bring this story to life.

Her innovation created quite the buzz and at the end of 2021, and Anifa was able to have her debut in-person show in Washington D.C. One again she dazzled everyone with her designs. Unlike other fashion shows, Anifa chose to make this collection “see now, buy now” meaning every item shown on the models were available for purchase as they’re walking in front of you! Hailing from D.C Hanifa gave a beautiful tribute to her hometown by having her debut show at The National Portrait Gallery and sourcing local sewers, models, and stylists for the event– despite multiple offers of space to debut her collection during New York Fashion Week.

These three feature designers are pushing the limit in terms of creativity and serving Black JOY. It’s truly refreshing to see the incredible boundaries being pushed and achieved and we are here certainly here for it!

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Rajaa Sultanah is a sneaker and fashion enthusiast from Philadelphia, Pa with a Major in Sports & Entertainment and Minor in TV & Film from Howard University. She enjoys working as a creative, entrepreneur, and influencer. She is always looking for her next creative opportunity. You can follow her on Instagram @Rajaa.Sultanah