In honor of Black History Month, I've compiled a list of my favorite African American luxury designers. Moncler, Fendi, Gucci, and Burberry all want to be down, but it's clear the fashion houses have something missing: diversity.
My diversity in fashion post, inspired by the Gucci blackface sweater scandal, had only been up one week before another major label made a huge misstep. This time: Burberry and it's noose hoodie. I prefer not to waste too much time on the scandal, but I will say that cultured people need to be hired instead of bland, uncultured, wannabes, or at the very least, stay in your lane. Burberry's recent design was not only offensive to minorities, who have a history of being lynched in America, but also to those susceptible to suicidal thoughts. The brand's apology, which I can't locate on any of their many online platforms, is inadequate. It refuses to acknowledge the racist undertone of the hoodie. While they made time to hide their tagged photos on Instagram, I've yet to locate their official statement anywhere other than media outlets. They clearly aren't sorry. Nice try.
Now that that's off of my chest, let's do a better job, myself included, of bringing awareness, support, and praise to our own! Get into this black girl/guy magic below!
This clean cut, well fitting women's brand was created in 2008 by two Parsons School of Design graduates, Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs. While Michelle Ochs has since parted ways with the company, the vision and momentum remains strong.
2. Laquan Smith
After being turned down by Parsons School of Design and Fashion Institute of Technology, the Queens native created his namesake women's brand in 2008 and debuted at NYFW shortly after in 2010.
3. Davidson Petit-Frère of Musika Frère/Frère
This dapper men's brand creates beautiful, bespoke suits. Davidson met his business partner via Instagram and they hit it off well. The brand is in the process of transitioning to the name Frère, as the two business partners have recently split to pursue individual careers in fashion design.
4. Pyer Moss
Kerby Jean-Raymond entered the industry breaking boundaries. I still remember his debut at NYFW 2016 vividly. The bold Black Lives Matter images came across my Tumblr feed and were impossible to forget.
Created by Virgil Abloh in just 2012, this brand has already become a cult classic among men and women. Their most notable symbol: stripes. The high end street-wear brand includes accessories and several shoe collaborations, including Nike and Converse. There's also a dope Off White x Basquiat collection in memoriam of the genius painter.
6. Fear of God
Jerry Lorenzo created this edgy street-wear brand in 2012, after designing custom looks for Justin Bieber during his Purpose World Tour. The chic designer also recently collaborated with Nike to create a custom sneaker.
7. Hideoki Bespoke
This clean cut, menswear brand began in 2007 out of Dedrick Hideoki Hagiwara Thomas' home. His original clientele consisted of a small group of friends who he created custom suits for. He now operates out of a private studio located in the Buckhead area of Atlanta.
8. Romeo Hunte
This women’s brand prides themselves on detail. In 2014, the Fashion Institute of Technology graduate launched his eponymous brand.
9. Fe Noel
Felisha Noel, a former vintage boutique owner, created the Brooklyn based brand to target women who love travel and style. The Grenadian designer aims to empower women with bold and beautiful designs that accentuate curves.
10. Ena Gancio
The Nigerian based brand is sold on Etsy but recently gained popularity this month when Beyonce wore a custom design. It'll be interesting to see their journey with this newfound popularity.
Most of these brands are available at major luxury retailers, including Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus. As with all high end fashion, be sure to purchase from an authorized retailer to ensure authenticity!
Hold your heads high and never forget, we are the culture!