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Black fashion designers
Black fashion designers

Image from the Museum at FIT.

New York’s Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) is paying homage to African-American designers who have made, and are still making, significant contributions to the fashion industry.

This is long overdue. Although Black culture has made an immense contribution to fashion trends in the Western world, Black designers have been greatly underrepresented in the fashion industry, accounting for only one percent of designers covered by Vogue — but this doesn’t mean they’re not creating.  

For example, not many people know that Jacqueline Kennedy’s show-stopping wedding dress was designed by a Black woman named Ann Lowe. When Jackie O. was asked about  her dress designer, she merely credited it to “a colored woman.” Lowe’s work caught the eye of elite circles and designers around the world, but when she died in 1981, she was still unknown.

Image from Life

Image from Life Magazine.

The exhibition is titled “Black Fashion Designers” and will highlight the contributions of more than 60 designers, including Bruce Oldfield, Sean Jean, Dapper Dan and Tracy Reese. It runs from December 6 through May 16. The Museum at FIT will also host a one-day symposium on February 6, 2017, featuring talks by designers, models, journalists, and scholars on African diaspora culture and fashion. Visit the museum’s website for all the details.


Heather was born in Chicago and raised in Pasadena, California and proudly claims Oakland as her adopted home. She has a B.A. in African-American Studies from Smith College (proud Smithie), and a Masters in Education Leadership from New York University. Heather's spent the past decade working in the field of educational equity and advocacy. She currently teaches Child and Adolescent Development at San Francisco State University and manages a blog called What's Happening Black Oakland? She also contributes to Blavity, a blog for black millennials. Heather's committed to writing interesting and relevant stories that aren't being covered by the mainstream media, while straying away from the single story that is usually imposed on people of color. In her free time she enjoys traveling and going to live shows.

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