The Black in Fashion Council (BIFC) was founded in June 2020 by The Cut editor Lindsay Peoples Wagner and Sandrine Charles, a public relations expert. It was started with intention to hold the fashion industry accountable when it comes to inclusivity and diversity. In June, top brands, like The RealReal and Glossier, as well as publishers, like Condé Nast and Fashionista, joined. All have pledged to making internal changes for a better and brighter future. This Fashion Week season, the BFIC and IMG models will host bicoastal showrooms including these 16 designers.
Mother-daughter Los Angeles based designers Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka work together to transcribe heritage through garments. By researching historical dress of Southern history and ancestral roots House of Aama evokes storytelling in their collections. The clothes take on vintage silhouettes while incorporating African prints and color themes to connect both narratives.
Head designer Sade Mims uses unique and refurbished home-goods to focus on sustainability while creating her accessories. Handbags are adaptations of classic staples while jewelry are all handmade. She imagines her materials in various ways; thin wire chokers, hand painted ceramic ware and a hat made of beads just to name a few.
The brand was established in 2016 by Guyanese-American designer Marrisa Wilson and is based in New York. Marrisa Wilson’s main objective is to celebrate diversity in the fashion industry. She emphasizes “All products are made by a woman, for a woman”. Her designs are functional but sleek for the everyday woman that seeks subtle individuality and expression.
New York based husband and wife Kofi and Kristin Essel are the founders of the jewelry line, Third Crown. The duo aims to craft gender neutral accessories using architectural design sense in the gold and silver metalwork. Third Crown’s jewelry’s structural craftwork have even been worn by Beyonce and Solange Knowles.
Designer Areeayl Goodwin is based in Brooklyn creating jewelry and garments that represent the free spirited woman. Tops and dresses shape and drape sleeves in a flowing manner to show movement. Jewelry is whimsical with wire shaped in unique illustrative designs, miniature houseware charm necklaces and even a picture frame earring set.
Founded in 2012 by Theresa Ebagua, Chelsea Paris envisions the designer’s African heritage through Italian leatherwork and modern textile technology. The leather used is vegetable tanned and metal-free, using organic dyes in the color process. With the sustainability elements Chelsea Paris is developing a modern interpretation of heritage motifs and craftsmanship.
Chuk Collins is a New York based designer originally from Lagos, Nigeria. Chuk Collins is focused on social responsibility, having founded the non-profit Fashion Vie that connects the fashion industry to supporting humanitarian issues. Funds raised from the shows and events are contributed to various organizations and causes such as the Oando Foundation in Nigeria to help support girls’ education.
The Los Angeles designer had established the brand in 2013, becoming more prominent in 2020. The brand staples of intricate cuts and sleek silhouettes became more recognized after being spotlighted by Beyonce’s stylist Zerina Akers on the online retail site Black Owned Everything. DuPlantier’s focus is on the dedicated craft of slow fashion and distinct timeless garments.
Founders Gil “Thermal” Taveras and Kyle “Ksace” Nelson started the accessories brand in 2015 as they were producing music. Today, the brand is well known and loved by rappers and their fans alike. The duo is determined to bring something new to the world of luxury and will be presenting a ready-to-wear collection this fashion week.
Whitney Michel created her menswear brand after attending Parsons School of Design. Michel grew up with four brothers and a father who was an oil painter, she gives them credit as her deepest influences. Her collection of men’s accessories include; neckties, bandanas and socks. Each handmade item has a way of being classic while still having interesting patterns.
This jewelry brand got its name from its founder Pamela Adewoyin’s heritage. In Yoruba, a Nigerian language, Lola means “wealthy and Ade translates to “crown.” Having grown up in Nigeria, Adewoyin values color, textures and artisans. All of her pieces are carefully created with inspirations from Adewoyin’s travels. The jewelry ranges from simple gold bracelets to deep green tassel earrings.
The Nicole Benefield collection is presented in phases with art and sustainability at its core. They believe that “sustainability meets at the intersection of art and style.” Each piece can be described as wearable art and is handmade to order. All of their materials are 95% biodegradable and used with intention.
Based in Los Angeles, this womenswear and accessories brand creates pieces for the motivated and ambitious. Each piece is made with a purpose of being worn by a woman who is living her life to the fullest. From t-shirts to trousers, each garment sends a message with their bright patterns and classic silhouettes.
Twenty-five year old Esper Knows started this clothing brand in 2018. Based in Los Angeles, he strives to create “high-vibrational” clothing out of 100% recycled cotton. Each piece is ethically made and hand-dyed in LA factories. Besides a range of loungewear, the site features a collection of vintage t-shirts. Knows finds it important for consumers to understand that these pieces are created around the Black experience, or lack thereof.
Created and founded by three women of color, Label by Three intends to fill a void in the industry where quality and inclusivity are lacking. From the garments to the packaging, everything is hand-picked and made in the United States. All of their pieces are unique as they are made from deadstock fabrics. There is also an emphasis on minimal aesthetics so you can rewear it over and over again.
Founded by Alexandra Bunch in 2019, this womenswear label can be described as “minimal with a touch of edginess.” The brand values sustainability, quality and luxury. Each piece is designed to be timeless and worn by women who walk into any room with ease and confidence.
–Julia Yi & Maria Fiume