Beloved by the likes of Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, Lupita Nyong’o and many others, Blackwood’s handbag and accessory designs have become a luxury staple across the fashion realm. The Jamaican American designer’s Trunk Bag emerged as the new “It Bag” and has simultaneously encouraged consumers to invest in Black-owned fashion brands more frequently. Blackwood announced the launch of his upcoming clothing design at the 74th Emmy Awards with an original gown worn by Sheryl Lee Ralph, who won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
Diggs, who once described fashion as “the little island that not everyone can get on,” is changing that. As the first Black woman to be named president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), Diggs has expanded that island into a diverse nation. Through the CFDA—a group of over 400 American womenswear, menswear, jewelry and accessory designers— she helps provide resources, mentoring, and networking to emerging American designers. Realizing the power combining fashion and business offered, Diggs joined the organization in 2001 as a business manager and quickly rose through the organization’s ranks. After taking the helm at CFDA, Diggs launched IMPACT, a diversity initiative that supports professionals in the fashion industry from historically under-recognized communities by providing employment opportunities, and the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund to support emerging designers.
Noting the lack of makeup for melanin-rich skin in the clean beauty arena, Diarrha N’Diaye-Mbaye, a veteran of Glossier and L’Oréal, decided to create her own. Her trailblazing line, Ami Colé, celebrates the complexity and diversity of our community’s tones. Her award-winning products amplify A-beauty—a simplified beauty regimen—by merging African heritage with clean, natural ingredients. Moreover, the line’s branding features dark-skinned models, women in hijabs and other Black and Brown women as the focal point, ensuring that women of all hues and backgrounds feel seen and celebrated.
Grede got her start producing fashion shows, before founding and serving as CEO of ITB Worldwide, a talent management and entertainment marketing agency. The U.K.-transplant then set out to build a brand that put inclusivity at the forefront of every facet of its business. That mindset has led Good American—the denim and fashion company she co-founded with Khloe Kardashian in 2016—to applause and acknowledgment for its authentic work towards size inclusivity. In just six years, Grede has built the company into a $130 million business, on track to exceed $200 million in revenue this year. She is also founding partner of Kim Kardashian’s bestselling intimates and loungewear line, Skims, and co-founder of Kris Jenner’s new plant-powered cleaning brand, Safely, that delivers chemical-free cleaning products to the masses. A savvy businesswoman, Grede also made history as the first Black woman to serve as an investor on ABC’s Shark Tank. Recently, she was named one of America’s Richest Self-Made Women and one of America’s Richest Self-Made Women Under 40 by Forbes.
Part of a wave of self-taught designers who are reinventing the rules of the fashion industry to suit their practical needs and modes of self-identification, 2022 has been a year of continued growth for Lorenzo and his cult label, Fear of God. Since its launch in 2013, the label has doubled its year-on-year revenue without relying on external investors. The independent brand most recently launched its “Eternals” collection and a unisex loungewear line. The brand continues to further the model of American style, most recently nabbing notable press nods for outfitting the Shumpert family’s viral EBONY cover.
In 2009, designer, artist and entrepreneur Blakeney launched her blog Jungalow.com as a way to inspire people to tap into their creativity by bringing bold colors and decor into their home. Today, the Jungalow brand is an empire that includes a line of housewares, furniture, stationery, travel and accessories for the entire family–featuring Blakeney’s hand-painted artwork. She’s also parlayed the success of her brand into a growing collection of coffee table books, a partnership with Target and speaking engagements across the globe.
Rising British design star Davis was named the creative director of the legendary Italian fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo this past March. The news comes just two years after the 26-year-old launched his eponymous label, an exploration of and tribute to his Trinidadian-Jamaican roots. Davis’ inspiration comes courtesy of everything, from his grandmother’s vinyl records and calypso music to Caribbean food—with the debut of his namesake collection taking a deep dive into Trinidad’s carnival experience.
Lynel’s designs are a captivating mix of femininity, strength, fearlessness and ease for the “glamorous girl on the go.” In fall 2021, the LA-based designer reimagined the American Girl doll Makena for the company’s World By Us Collection. Her designs are also sold on her e-commerce site, as well as at select Nordstrom stores. Her brand includes Shop Nichole Lynel, NL The Label, NL Home and her online fashion e-commerce education platform, The Nichole Lynel Academy. Her memoir, My Fashion Fairytale, delves into her style and entrepreneurial journey.
When former first lady Michelle Obama stole the show at the 2021 Presidential Inauguration in a perfectly tailored burgundy pantsuit by Sergio Hudson, she marked both a moment in fashion history and a turning point in the fashion house’s trajectory. The man behind the brand also designed the custom sequined gown worn by Vice President Kamala Harris at the inaugural festivities and Serena Williams’ retirement announcement cover look for Vogue. In addition to having his collection in upscale department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman, the designer recently inked a deal for a digital storefront on Luxury Stores at Amazon, pushing well beyond the limitations that are often placed on Black designers.