Annual international arts festival Afropunk and e-commerce platform Shopify are on a mission to highlight aspiring Black designers and help them grow their businesses. The two have partnered to create the Black Fashion Accelerator (BFA). This intensive six-month program selects exceptionally talented creatives to participate.
Design icon Chris Bevans, who’s the creative director at menswear brand Dyne, serves as the program mentor. He and three guest mentors will help guide the students as they complete a top-tier curriculum that will help them develop their skills and brands. The 2022 BFA class includes Bronté Laurent, founder of par Bronté Laurent; Archie Clay III and Tajh Crutch, co-founders of Wear Brims; Corin Lindsay, founder of Corin DeMarco; Sophia Danner-Okotie, founder of Besida; Melissa A. Mitchell, founder of Abeille Creations; Paakow Essandoh, founder of Mizizi; Sylvester Ndhlovu, founder of RuvaAfricWear; Valerie Blaise, founder of Vavvoune; and Jelisa Smith, founder of House of Fleek. The BFA program concludes with a fashion show in June.