Black artists have been at the helm of innumerable cultural movements including music, film, and especially, style. From streetwear innovators to sartorial-leaning tastemakers, master jeans makers to avant-garde thinkers, Black designers have been driving the culture, shaping the future, and paving the way for the next generation. Whether you know it or not, you have been influenced by Black artists.
But, Black people have experienced — and continue to experience — inequality and unjust treatment. We need to actively fight this systemic racism — you can support causes directly through donations, petitions and protesting.
Another way to address this injustice is to support Black-owned businesses and artists. We acknowledge that we have a lot of work to do in the fight against racism and sharing a list of Black-owned brands and Black designers is not enough. But, it’s a start. Though there are many more names that should be acknowledged, this list highlights a handful of Black designers and Black-owned brands shaping the world of style.
Co-founded and co-designed by Abdul Abasi, Abasi Rosborough started as a way to challenge the conceptions of what a suit could be. The collection is built with deadstock fabrics and a futuristic eye, inspired by the architecture of Zaha Hadid, among other influences. In 2019, Abasi Rosborough was a finalist for the prestigious CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund for the top American emerging designer.
ALLCAPSTUDIO, based in Philadelphia, pumps out some of the coolest graphics set to tees, hoodies, tote bags and more. Run by Saeed Ferguson, the brand has collaborated with other hip brands like Mister Green and 18 East.
Based in London, Albert 1941 is Gabriel Akinosho’s tailored take on style. The brand features gorgeous fabrics cut into double-breasted suit jackets, balmacaan coats, and more, all with sharp silhouettes and fine details.
You’ve probably seen Armando Cabral decked out in other brands, across magazine spreads and in fashion campaigns. His experience with traveling and modeling has also led to his own shoe brand, where high-end materials, modern details and classic designs are merged.
The Brooklyn Circus
Ougi Theodore is the creative force behind the Brooklyn Circus, which has been pushing its heritage/Ivy aesthetics through a distinctly New York lens. You’ll find perfectly-cut leather varsity jackets alongside oxford shirts as well as graphic tees and vintage-style ball caps.
Fear of God
Fear of God’s Jerry Lorenzo has built a loyal following with his high-end streetwear label, earning co-signs from the likes of Kanye West and shelf space in pivotal retailers like Union. Lorenzo elevates iconic designs from streetwear and workwear into the luxury space using premium fabrics and construction.
G + Co. Apparel
G + Co. Apparel — helmed by Will Dennis and Naeem Holman — puts out a spectrum of accessories for those that like to suit up at an accessible price point. Partnering with other Black-owned businesses, the brand also uses its platform and profits to boost the Black community.
With several decades of experience working in the denim industry, Glenn Liburd knows his way around a pair of jeans. But in 2019 the master jeans maker finally started his own brand, which utilizes custom-woven selvedge denim for its range of Americana-inspired goods.
Grammy-winning artist Tyler, the Creator made waves with his angst-filled debut mixtape and has gone on to become one of this generation’s most influential musicians. He’s also got a great eye for style. His Golf Wang label filters golf attire aesthetics through vibrant colors and wild patterns for a unique take on the prep aesthetic.
Inspired by her Jamaican-British roots, Martine Rose subverts traditional rules of menswear by infusing her collection with subcultural influences like ’90s rave culture. As such, you’ll find well-tailored suits alongside cycling shorts, floral satin button-ups and fringed leather jackets.
Nicholas Daley is an alum of the esteemed Central Saint Martins and his collections lean heavily into jazz influences and explore his multi-cultural Jamaican and Scottish heritage. His clothes are entirely produced in the UK with dizzying attention to detail, and he often incorporates artists and DJs into his runway shows.
By now, it’s difficult to not know who Virgil Abloh is. From his first label Pyrex 23 to the massively successful Off-White label to his current post as the creative director of luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton, Abloh has risen to heights few Black designers have, opening up the door for others in his wake. Lauded by streetwear obsessives and self-professed hype beasts, Off-White’s collections feature a head-to-toe range of graphic-heavy pieces inspired by tailoring, military, workwear and more.
Nigerian native Niyi Okuboyejo brings the artistry of traditional Adire printing, a traditional resist-dye printing method with roots in the Southwestern region of Nigeria, into Post-Imperial’s range of tailored accessories and bright open-collar shirts — they’re some of the most fun you’re likely to see.
Public School NYC
Co-founded and co-designed by Maxwell Osborne, Public School NYC balances a modern eye with a clean aesthetic for its casual streetwear brand. The brand is distinctly New York, choosing local tailors and Garment District workers to produce its award-winning clothing.
Kerby Jean-Raymond heads the innovative high-end brand Pyer Moss. The brand not only crafts luxe materials into casual, sportswear silhouettes, but it infuses garments with powerful graphics and text, speaking to the Black experience and struggles.
As the pattern maker, co-designer and co-owner of workwear-inspired brand Ship John, Steven Heard wears a lot of hats. The brand boasts burly fabrics like heavy canvas and selvedge denim, rendered in tough shirt jackets and jeans that any workwear fan would pine for.
Co-founded by Fola Lawson, Houston-based Southern Gents offers up a collection of goods with a range of influences, tied together by a tailored design aesthetic. You’ll find pinstripe suits alongside moto jackets as well as tuxedos which flaunt traditional African prints.
Started by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, Studio 189 produces clothes made in Africa by African artisans and highlights handwoven fabrics and traditional dyeing and printing techniques. Aside from its impressive sustainability efforts, Studio 189 focuses on community empowerment and leverages its platform to provide jobs and education.
Telfar Clemens — the designer behind the bag to have among the style cognoscenti — has made strides for progressive fashion, championing genderless clothes for everyone.
Geometric shapes and architectural elements go into Third Crown, the jewelry line run by husband-and-wife team Kristin and Kofi Essel. Made up of bracelets, rings, necklaces and more, Third Crown’s collection is brought to life with deft eyes.
Grace Wales Bonner started her namesake label in 2014 after graduating from Central Saint Martins and has, in the short time since, won numerous awards and caught the attention of the menswear world with her approach to tailoring which blends European and Afro-Atlantic influences. You’ll find lush fabrics, intricate embroidery, baseball-inspired garments, workwear and more, all wrapped into one eye-catching brand.