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The Black Fashion Brands You Should Be Paying Attention to at New York Fashion Week
From Heron Preston, and LaQuan Smith to Tia Adeola, we're keying in on a few Black fashion brands releasing collections during New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 23.
New York Fashion Week (NYFW) is the time of the year when things speed up a bit for fashion enthusiasts, designers, and critics alike. If you’re a supporter of fashion you’re probably anticipating the new collections that’ll hit runways and showrooms. But if you’re an avid supporter of Black brands and fashion houses, you’re well aware of some of the hurdles they have to overcome.
Back in 2020, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) released astatement declaring that they were making a promise to “create systemic change within our industry.” The follow-up to this was a database of Black talent to fill roles at houses, the creation of a mentorship program, diversity and inclusion training for CFDA members, and more. By September 2022, these steps led to over 20% of Black designers being represented in the official CFDA calendar. Though that percentage might seem small, it’s a step in the right direction.
The fashion industry still has a long way to go, but with resources like the CFDA and Black Fashion Fair, designers have the opportunity to fund and streamline their businesses and receive assistance with getting their products out to consumers. Some are also a part of this year’s New York Fashion Week, with NYFW 2023 featuring up-and-coming and household Black brands alike — from Tia Adeola andBed On Water to Heron Preston (who is showing in New York for the first time) andLaQuan Smith. All of them are sure to offer tediously designed pieces that will breathe life into the fashion market for the foreseeable future.
Ahead of New York Fashion Week, we’re taking the time to highlight a few Black-owned brands that’ll be showing a new collection throughout the event, which takes place February 10-February 15.
LaQuan Smith’s eponymous line screams glamor. An ode to New York City, his distinct pieces are reflective of his relationship with Queens — his hometown — and NYC. Largely attended each season by celebrities and influencers like Nicole Ari Parker and LaLa Anthony, his collections tend to include pieces created with vinyl and leather that would be ideal for throwing on for a special celebration. He’s designed custom pieces for Beyoncé, Rihanna, Dua Lipa, and more.
NYC-based and London-raised designer Tia Adeola is constantly creating pieces reflective of an ongoing conversation she’s having with history and periods (specifically the Renaissance). Adeola’s fashion world is defined by gaudy ruffles, chiffon, and angelic tones like baby blue, icy white, and rosy pink. Previous collections were inspired by the late designer Mugler and Nigeria, a country she has an intimate relationship with.
Sergio Hudson’s eponymous line is driven by his fixation with rich colors. Aside from this, he is constantly creating chic pieces that customers can both wear to work and outside the office. His eye for slick tailoring and remarkable power suiting sets him apart from other luxury designers.
Founded in 2015, House of Aama is the brainchild of mother and daughter design duo Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka. Manufactured entirely in Los Angeles, their pieces are a form of their creative expression and storytelling, paired with archival analysis. Each collection is correlated to their journeys with distinct time periods.
Nigerian designer Taofeek Abijakomade his red carpet debut when he designed Met Gala looks for Evan Mock and Danai Gurira last year. Though his line was created in 2016, this debut was a breakout moment for the designer. His pieces are a representation of his Nigerian background, as well as an extension of being a part of the West African artistic community.
Heron Preston is known for his streetwear pieces and logo-heavy creations — think logo bags, oversized coats, and denim jeans that can be worn day after day. He regularly utilizes a safety orange hue to inject color into his drops. He also heavily leans on creating elevated workwear.
Parsons grad Shanel Campbell launched Bed On Water in 2018, with the earliest years of her line seeing celebrities like Solange wearing custom pieces. Years later, Campbell’s knack for unpredictability has continued to be a guiding light, whether it be exploring intriguing patterns on tees or making pieces out of velvet and leather. Recently, her pieces have been worn by Willow and Chloë, and Halle Bailey.
Designer Everard Best, better known as Ev Bravado, was a student and mentee of the late Virgil Abloh. He is largely known for his take on denim, which is meticulously emblazoned with rips, gems, and even colorful paint sometimes. Best is a part of the newest generation of designers who are unafraid to showcase pieces that are deeply personal.
Created in 2013 in New York City, Romeo Hunte’s namesake label has been worn byZendaya andBeyoncé. Driven by his upbringing in Brooklyn, Hunte’s codes include collaged outerwear that merges sportswear with tailoring. Last year, a collaboration between Hunte and Tommy Hilfiger dropped, a culmination of the many years Hilfiger has mentored the rising designer.