In honor of Black History Month we're highlighting three black women designers who are reshaping the 'business as usual' narrative in the fashion industry, paving the way for positive change and paying it forward in a big way.
Read on to learn about what these incredible women are accomplishing...
1. Tracy Reese
Tracy Reese has recently returned to her hometown of Detroit to start an ethically sourced and produced clothing line, Hope for Flowers. After 30+ years of working in the fashion industry, Tracy was determined to do things differently this time around with her new brand.
Her business model for Hope For Flowers was developed "following the 3 guiding principles of sustainability: the health of people, planet, and equity in profit." She's passionate about slowing down and creating smaller, more thoughtful collections-a true 'slow fashion' aficionado!
Tracy is also busy working on many projects to move Detroit forward such as establishing an industrial sewing industry, opening an artisan studio for embellishments, and working with the school system to bring art and music workshops to kids.
Enjoy this video showcasing Tracy's amazing style:
2. Azède Jean-Pierre
Azède Jean-Pierre came to the US from Haiti as a refugee at the age of 5 and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. She attended the Savannah College of Art and Design and subsequently moved to New York City where she started her own label. Her designs (worn by Michelle Obama, Solange Knowles, and the mayor of Atlanta to name a few) have always been inspired by her multi-cultural upbringing.
Giving back has always been a top priority for Jean-Pierre. Through a partnership with the Clinton Foundation she's mentored Haitian artisan entrepreneurs on how to grow and market their brands and has designed uniforms for 12 Haitian elementary schools. She also worked alongside an agricultural company teaching students how to plant things at school that they can eat and farmers how to work with crops native to Haiti.
Take a peek at her gorgeous designs:
3. Stella Jean
Stella Jean is an Italian-Haitian fashion designer who has been instrumental in paving the way for black designers to get their due recognition in Milan Fashion Week and the Italian fashion industry as a whole. Together with other industry leaders she launched the Black Lives Matter in Italian Fashion collective (BMLIF), a working group advocating for "fashion reform on the taboo topic of race in Italian fashion."
Recognizing the role that fashion plays in the global economy, she also has created the business model and sustainable development platform "Laboratorio delle Nazioni" (Laboratory of Nations), that focuses on creating a bridge between Italian design and artisans from developing countries. Her goal is to preserve cultural heritage and traditions while at the same time supporting and sustaining local economies.
Her multi-cultural heritage and unique design aesthetic shine through in this beautiful runway show:
We hope enjoyed reading about these inspirational women and helping us celebrate Black History Month. Any amazing black women designers that we need to know about? Please share with us in the comments!
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