For years, Black designers have contributed to the growth of the fashion industry, including Virgil Abloh, Dapper Dan, Pyer Moss and so many more. In honor of Black History Month, observed in February every year, we’re celebrating Black women-owned fashion brands to love and support every day.
We’re spotlighting Mowalola Ogunlesi, who has showcased sleek garments through her eponymous label while working as the Design Director for Kanye West‘s YEEZY Gap line. Tia Adeola is loved for her ruffle designs, which arrive in various forms including pandemic-ready face masks and swimwear. Although her Fenty brand is on hold for now, Rihanna continues to take over the lingerie world with her Savage X Fenty label with inclusive shows. Elsewhere, Aurora James has become one of the leading names in the footwear space with her label Brother Vellies.
Continue scrolling to see some of our favorite Black designers.
Anifa Mvuemba creates limitless designs through her label Hanifa. Currently in her 11th year with the brand, the creative rose to fame through a viral tweet in 2016 showcasing her Zenaida shoe, and later gained celebrity fans like Beyoncé and Zendaya. The designer made her runway debut in November 2021, returning to her beginnings in Washington D.C. with a show at the National Portrait Gallery.
Owner and founder of the sustainable accessories line Brother Vellies, Aurora James brings meaningful change to the fashion space through ethical practices. She employs local artisans to create her designs, while using locally-sourced materials. Throughout the years since her 2013 launch, James has been honored for her work at awards such as the 2020 Fashion Awards and 2021 CFDA Awards.
Originally a fashion and travel blogger, Fisayo Longe created her label Kai Collective in 2016. The London-based creative director takes inspiration from her travels around the world, which are expressed through ruched dresses, corsets, print shirts and more with a romantic aesthetic.
Since launching her eponymous brand in 2007, Martine Rose has grown to become a cult label loved by celebrities such as Rihanna and Drake. The creative designs for outsiders, putting together unconventional silhouettes that blend sportswear, casual wear and tailoring together. With themes focusing on kink, sex, community and more, Rose builds on her vast experience — which includes working as a consultant for Balenciaga for three years — to push the boundaries of fashion.
Nigerian-British designer Mowalola Ogunlesi made her London Fashion Week debut in early 2019 via Fashion East. The 26-year-old, who was later enlisted as Design Director for Kanye West’s YEEZY Gap line, has gained popularity for her sleek designs, which have been picked up by Naomi Campbell, Solange and Drake, just to name a few. Most recently, the creative dropped new editions of her popular Bundle Bag.
Although Rihanna’s main fashion line Fenty has been on hold for a year now, the musician-turned-entrepreneur continues to build her lingerie empire, Savage X Fenty. The brand recently opened its first-ever physical store in Las Vegas, following buzzy drops in addition to the Bad Gal’s annual Savage X Fenty Show.
Since debuting her sustainable accessories brand EDAS in 2013, Sade Mims has created a number of It-bags in addition to eclectic jewelry and beaded bucket hats. Building on her artistic experience as a painter, the designer translates influences from her mother and grandmother into nostalgia-evoking styles with classic, timeless silhouettes.
Tia Adeola launched her namesake label when she was 18 years old. Six years in, the rising name has built an impressive business, working with names like SZA and Gigi Hadid. During the height of the pandemic, Adeola applied her signature ruffle details to face masks, which ended up being featured on CNN. Today, she continues to grow her label with drops including ruffle swimwear, collaborations with brands like Away and more.