When we think of the black dress, an L.B.D. typically comes to mind.
Well, not so fast.
Kicking off New York Fashion Week, I made at very worthwhile stop at the opening of The Black Dress: Ten Contemporary Fashion Designers which celebrates the singular vision of featured black fashion designers: Jeffrey Banks, Samantha Black, Stephen Burrows, Donna Dove, Epperson, Michael Jerome Francis, Byron Lars, Tracy Reese, Omar Salam and LaQuan Smith who have found success in an industry that historically downplays their achievements.
The exhibition’s fashion consultant Walter Greene explained the relevancy of the coterie of designers as, “it represents a coming together of Black designers from the diaspora. They are designers who were born in Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and the US, the common thread is that they all possess an entrepreneurial spirit.”
“They also strive in an industry in which Black designers are basically not celebrated or even recognized for that matter, ” adds Walter.
Visionary black fashion designers are often left in the dark when it comes to recognition and fame even in this day & age.
That said, how many black fashion designers can you name off-hand? And while black designers are rare in the industry of fashion, today there’s Olivier Rousteing making strides at Balmain and Tracy Reese who is now a household name alongside nine other designers recently celebrated at Pratt’s Manhattan Gallery.
The exhibition also explores how each designer’s background has made an impact on their designs. And marks a new chapter in fashion history characterized by a greater spectrum of creative influences and professional opportunities. Learn more about the exhibition online.- with Naveed Hussain
Visit in New York:
The Black Dress: Ten Contemporary Fashion Designers
Pratt Manhattan Gallery
144 West 14th Street, 2nd Floor