THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BLACK DESIGNERS OF THE 21ST CENTURY
Andre Walker is a ghost designer or consultant in the fashion world. At age 15, he had staged a fashion show at a night club in Brooklyn and designed for Willi Smith’s Williwear before he moved to Paris. He has received different praises from the press, and won an ANDAM Award in 2000. In 2005, he returned to New York and began to consult for Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton, Kim Jones at his line for many years. In 2014, he produced a collection for Dover Street Market, and in 2017, he showed pieces he constructed anew from original designs at Paris Fashion Week. Last year, he created a collection of improved furs for Yves Salomon.
When you hear Kanye West, you hear fashion. Kanye has worked with brands such as A.P.C., Louis Vuitton, Nike, and Adidas. He had his own ventures as well, such as Pastelle, which closed down in 2009, and his own line Kanye West, which debuted in 2011. However, to date, his most successful venture has been the Yeezy line which includes apparel and sneakers he produces with Adidas. Kanye has had an imprint on the world of fashion and it is undeniable.
Virgil Abloh creates clothing with a blend of streetwear and luxury, making himself a polarized personality in fashion. He started by being Kanye West’s creative director and moved on to launching his own labels, Pyrex Vision and Off-White. Abloh is a collaborator and he has connected with Nike, IKEA, Takashi Murakami, Jimmy Choo, and Moncler. In 2018, when Virgil Abloh was names artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men collection, he became the first Black American designer to oversee a French brand. Unfortunately, he passed away in November 28, 2021 because of a cancer.
GRACE WALES BONNER
Grace Wales Bonner started her men’s line, Wales Bonner, in 2014, and her collections explore blackness and masculinity. Her mother is English and her father is Jamaican. In 2015, she won the Emerging Menswear Designer prize at the British Fashion Awards, and in 2016, the LVMH prize. Each of her collection digs into black references that are not usually credited within fashion.
There are several other Black designers who have left imprints in the fashion world and have made great strides. We may not have mentioned all the names but their innovations and contributions speak for them till date.