In Honor of Black History Month: Five Remarkable Fashion Designers
Editor’s note: As a member of the Poplin community, by now you know how much importance I place on creating opportunities for people to be seen and heard. I’m ELATED to introduce a new Poplin contributor, Sophia Rahimi. Sophia has a deep love of fashion that is contagious. When I met her, I knew that helping amplify her voice would be as valuable to you, Dear Reader, as it would be to her. It’s pretty great to hear from the next generation, and as such, you’ll be hearing from her from time over the next few months. Enjoy!
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Hey guys! My name is Sophia and I graduated from San Francisco State University, with a degree in Consumer Family Science, and an emphasis in Fashion Merchandise. I lived in Germany until the age of 12 and originate from Persia, so I speak three different languages. My mom has seven sisters and one brother, then all of the sisters have kids (majority girls). All of us love clothes! I would describe my personal style as trendy, 90’s grunge and Euro.
Since it’s Black History Month, I thought it would be cool to learn about some black designers from all over the world that are maybe new to you.
Tracy Reese is a prominent African-American fashion designer who pushes for diversity in the fashion industry. She is well-known for using “real looking” women in her fashion shows. Women of all different age groups, ethnicities and sizes are spotted on her runways, which you don’t really see that much in the world of fashion. She is also a board member of the Council of Fashion Designers in America, alongside many other noted designers such as Marc Jacobs and Vera Wang. Her design style tends to be more on the feminine side with a twist of retro and hippy. Her clothes are carried by retailers such as Bloomingdale's, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Anthropologie, Modcloth, and Nordstrom.
Laura Smalls has a widespread outerwear collection, as well as a modern collection including dresses and sportswear. Laura has a wide-range of clientele. Her style is appealing to strong and trendy women who are not afraid to make a statement with their attire!
Dumebi Andrea Iyamah
Andrea Iyama, a clothing line inspired by ethnic cultures, is owned by Nigerian fashion designer Dumebi Iyamah. Andrea Iyamah is commonly known for its unconventional and unique swimwear, using lively colors and cuts. The brand does both ready-to-wear and custom-made special event dresses.
Oliver Rousteing is a French fashion designer and the creative director of Balmain. His mission for the brand is to incorporate French couture. With help from A-List celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian, Kelly Rowland, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, and various models, including the Victoria's Secret Angels, Rousteing helped Balmain become the first French label to get one million followers on Instagram. The style is very extravagant and fashion-forward!
David Tlale is a well-known South African fashion designer. His clothes have been showcased at the Cape Town Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week, and Paris Fashion Week. He has designed collections for prestige retailers such as Edgars. He is known as the “South African Karl Lagerfeld.” His style consists of bold designs and fierce colors. Everything about his designs screams culture and it is awesome!