Contemporary Black Designers
From established fashion houses to underground brands there is a wealth of black designers within the streetwear and luxury wear market. These contemporary designers are forging a refreshing take on the industry with unique design, marketing and branding. Here’s some of my favourites:
Head of State is a men’s wear brand that was founded in 2016 by Taofeek Abijako at age 17. Abijako references how his brand is rooted in the representation of postcolonial youth. Head of State has created five collections with its most recent, ‘Johnny just come’ being the brand’s most interesting collection to date. In my opinion, the standout look pairs a cream wide flared trouser with a matching oversized shirt. The trousers have an oval sized cut out exposing a white fabric underneath. Outside of fashion, Head of State uses their brand as a platform to fund initiatives in underserved communities.
FTP (standing for f–k the population) has a cult fanbase that are drawn to Zac Clark’s gritty and unapologetically authentic streetwear brand. Their iconic all over print has turned into a symbol of LA streetwear, leading to most of their products selling out in hours. FTP stays rooted within today’s culture by working alongside iconic figures like Travis Barker, YG, Chief Keef and Steve Lacy in their look books.
Designer Martine Rose founded her fashion label in 2007. Despite the fashion label’s global recognition, Martine Rose remains connected with her Jamaican-British heritage by hosting her shows in cultural melting pots across London. This has included the Tottenham markets, a neighbourhood in Camden and Torriano primary school. The label constantly uses a variety of different fabrics and designs that allow Martine Rose to tap into a range of aesthetics that vary from athleisure to formal wear. Martine Rose is a highly regarded designer who has worked alongside established figures like Demna Gvasalia during the launch of his menswear collection at Balenciaga.
Daily Paper is a lifestyle brand that was founded in Amsterdam by childhood friends Jefferson Osei, Abderrahmane Trabsini, and Hussein Suleiman. The brand centres around their individual African heritage (Morocco, Ghana, and Somalia). The three founders had a mutual interest in music, art, fashion, and culture which enabled them to grow a coherent label with a strong brand identity. Daily Paper has continued to release exciting clothing and has begun to diversify their product line in making both men’s and womenswear. The brand is, ‘fuelled by the rich heritage of African culture wrapped in contemporary designs.’
These are just a few of the many incredible black owned brands within the fashion industry. I’d advise you to look into supporting future collections of black designers and buying from black owned labels wherever possible .