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Spotlighting Innovative Black Designers to Support

The importance of supporting black businesses should be clear to everybody, especially while the spotlight is shining so brightly on racial inequality due to recent injustices. The fashion industry has a tainted history with inclusivity, being guilty of appropriation, segregation and tokenism amongst much more. This legacy is being changed by the actions of some of those in the industry, which includes the names on this list.

These are some of the talented black designers that you can help support.

Wales Bonner

An important voice for black culture in fashion, Grace Wales Bonner produces clothing that is rooted in her experiences as a mixed-race woman in the UK. Her politically conscious designs are far from going unrecognised, having won the British Fashion Council and Vogue Designer Fashion Fund award.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @walesbonner

Cold Laundry

With a distinctive style of strong silhouettes offered in soft hues, Cold Laundry occupies the space of high-end streetwear with double-breasted suits treated with the same importance as a hoody.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @coldlaundry

Kam Vercetti

Using patchworking, distressing and deconstruction, this handcrafted fashion label takes a DIY approach that produces garments filled with character. Based in Los Angeles, this brand has managed to produce a recognisable aesthetic that shares tropes with workwear, punks and streetwear.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @kamvercetti

A-Cold-Wall

With designs that are as conceptually developed as they are aesthetically powerful, A-Cold-Wall has established itself as a pioneer in fashion. Starting a new chapter in its five-year history by showing in Milan last season, the brand is reaching a new degree of maturity.

It has also recently announced a fund for black businesses, for those who would benefit from the labels support.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @acoldwall

Daily Paper

Heralding from Amsterdam, Daily Paper has made a quick ascent in fashion. With signature bold colours and elevated casual silhouettes helping the label to forge its own path. Created by three childhood friends, the brand is informed by African culture when producing its collections.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @dailypaper

Mowalola

Having landed herself on the Fashion East schedule during fashion week, Mowalola was quick to make an impact as her garments told narratives that were political, androgynous and overtly sensual. Having Skepta, Drake and Kanye amongst her ever-expanding list of fans, make sure you are not late to the Mowalola appreciation party.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @mowalola

Nicholas Daley

Uniting a love for fashion and music into high-octane shows, this Central Saint Martins graduate delves into British culture using his Scottish and Jamaican descent to inform his collections.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @nicholas_daley

Pyer Moss

A consistently outspoken figure on black issues, Kerby Jean Raymond, the founder and designer of Pyer Moss, has ensured to use his platform to not only bring attention to these issues but as a voice for change. A triad of shows titled “American, Also” which explored the life and history of African Americans are bound to go down in fashion history, having concluded with a show at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn last year.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @pyermoss

Who Decides War

Specialising in inimitable jeans that explore distressing, bondage and bold prints, this label creates full collections of eccentric garments. Experimenting is fundamental to what makes Who Decides War special, its playful eye makes it consistently avert the basic.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @whodecideswar

Martine Rose

A focus on community is one of the qualities which has made Martine Rose a formidable presence in the London fashion scene. Using pastiche and irony alongside innovative shapes and cuts, she has produced a look that has gone beyond having a cult following to worldwide recognition.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @martine_rose

Kenneth Ize

LVHM Prize nominee Kenneth Ize ensures to preserve his Nigerian heritage through a network of artisans. Variations of colours and patterns are woven into his tailored masterpieces to create daring yet coherent looks.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @kennethize

Bianca Sanders

Launching her label in 2017, Londoner Bianca Saunders uses traditional menswear garments as the canvas for her inventive cutting which accentuates the movement in clothes. Having started to establish herself in the industry, the designer was named as one of Forbes’ annual 30 Under in the category for Arts and Culture.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @Biancasaunders_

Denim Tears

Run by Tremaine Emory, this elusive brand brings out clothing that inspects political themes, often addressing the experiences of black communities. A notable example of this being a collaboration with Levis, which explored the story of America’s troubling past with slavery.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @denimtears

Jehu-Cal

Using the name that he was mocked in school for having, Jehu-cal Emmanuel Enemokwu has created a label that is desired by those in the know. Be sure to check out our recent interview with the man behind the label for a more in-depth look at his journey into fashion.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @jehu_cal

Orange Culture Nigeria

Heavily inspired by Nigerian culture, Adebayo Oke-Lawal has been perfecting his androgynous designs since aged 10. Manufactured in Lagos from ethically-sourced fabrics created in Nigeria, this label is, according to its founder, a movement.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @orangecultureng

Ryan Hawaii

It would be a difficult task to find a designer who embodies the values of DIY better than Ryan Hawaii. Using his artwork to inform garments that are often handmade, this Londoner has been upcycling way before it was a trend.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @ryanhawaii

Telfar

Telfar Clements has created a label that prides itself on inclusivity, working under the mantra of “Not for You, for Everyone.” The designer behind the coolest bag in the industry right now has been building a cult fanbase since being launched in 2005.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @telfarglobal

Tolu Coker

Having worked at labels such as Maison Margiela, J.W. Anderson and Celine, Tolu Coker created her own label to promote inclusivity, diversity and social responsibility. This British-Nigerian designer has a positive message that she is spreading!

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PHOTO CREDIT: @tolucoker

Eastwood Danso

German-born designer Eastwood Danso started his label whilst studying for his A-Levels. He quickly made an impression and gained the mentorship of Samuel Ross, founder of A-Cold-Wall, who gave the designer all of his NEWGEN bursary. Producing garments that reflect on cultural issues, the designer brings a relatively minimal eye to focus on the details in garments.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @eastwooddanso

Heron Preston

After having been one of the founders of Been Trill, American artist Heron Preston quickly became a major player amongst the new wave of fashion designers.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @heronpreston

Public School

With a focus on sustainability, New Yorkers Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow keep their production in the city that they were born and raised. Sticking to their design mantra of “finding perfection in imperfection.”

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PHOTO CREDIT: @publicschoolnyc