Kerby Jean-Raymond (

The fashion world, celebrated for its innovation and creativity, should ideally serve as a reflection of the rich diversity of our society. Yet, despite notable strides towards inclusivity, the industry continues to grapple with a lack of representation, particularly during one of its most pivotal events, New York Fashion Week.

In spite of the persistent challenges the fashion industry faces concerning diversity and inclusion, there exist 15 trailblazing African American designers who are actively breaking down barriers and reshaping the future of fashion. These visionary creators have not only navigated the industry’s obstacles but have also paved the way for a more inclusive and equitable fashion landscape, where talent knows no boundaries.

Kerby Jean-Raymond, a Haitian-American designer and the brains behind Pyer Moss, believes fashion should reflect heritage and activism. His fashion shows spotlight the African American experience and issues such as police brutality and mental health.

Kimora Lee Simmons  has conquered the realms of TV personality, model, and author. In 1999, she introduced Baby Phat, a brand that sent women flocking for ’90s baby tees and bedazzled jeans. In 2019, she relaunched the iconic brand with the assistance of her daughters, Ming and Aoki.

Related Stories

Another Successful Brotherhood Crusade Charity Golf Tournament

Rockmond Dunbar and Maya Gilbert-Dunbar Campaign for Change at SAG-AFTRA

Dapper Dan, the maestro of custom pieces adorned with designer logos and legendary silhouettes, carved his own path as hip hop’s go-to designer in the ’80s. His collaboration with Gucci in 2017 led to the opening of a second store paying homage to his original boutique.

Dapper Dan (

In 2018, Virgil Abloh made history as the first African American artistic director for Louis Vuitton. Simultaneously, he remained the CEO and founder of Off-White, a fashion label that has consistently ranked among the world’s hottest brands since its inception in 2012.

Telfar Clemens, the visionary behind Telfar, a genderless fashion label based in Brooklyn since 2005, has garnered a cult following for his accessible price points and the coveted Shopping Bag, often dubbed the “Bushwick Birkin.”

Sami Miro Vintage stands as a beacon of eco-conscious fashion. Using local deadstock and vintage fabrics, Miro’s label prides itself on a 15-mile supply chain in Los Angeles. Miro’s commitment to protecting the environment earned her a grant from the CFDA and Fashion Trust US in 2021.

Aurora James, creative director and founder of Brother Vellies, aims to preserve traditional African design practices through her New York-based brand. Her creations, including shoes, bags, and accessories, incorporate sustainable elements like vegetable-tanned leather, hand-carved wood, and floral-dyed feathers.

Dapper Dan (

Christopher John Rogers, the Baton Rouge-born designer based in Brooklyn, clinched the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award in 2019. His avant-garde designs have graced luminaries such as Michelle Obama, Lizzo, Rihanna, and Cardi B. Known for his attention-commanding color blocking and bold silhouettes, Rogers made his style accessible through a 2021 collaboration with Target.

Inspired by his grandmother’s love for sewing and pattern making, Queens-born designer Laquan Smith started his brand at just 21. His luxury creations have adorned the likes of Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and many more.

Victor Glemaud, celebrated for his effortless knitwear and color-blocked pairings, is dedicated to creating minimalist lines with breathable fabrics, perfect for both daytime and evening wear.

Heron Preston Johnson, a DJ and founder of the eponymous brand Heron Preston, has become a favorite among celebrities like Yara Shahidi, Lori Harvey, and Kaia Gerber. His workwear-inspired apparel and accessories have captivated fashion enthusiasts.

Felicia Noel (

Teni “Tia” Adeola is making waves with designs that blend art history with elements of extravagance and softness. Her brand has graced celebrities like Gigi Hadid, SZA, and Dua Lipa, and has been sponsored by Nike since her college days.

Felicia “Fe” Noel creates clothing that champions women’s rights. Her popular Dre$$, a strapless corset gown adorned with a ruffled petticoat made of paper money, draws attention to the retirement income gap between men and women.

Brandon Blackwood gained prominence during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests with his tote bags carrying the powerful message, “end systemic racism.” A portion of proceeds supported pro bono legal assistance through the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights.

Anifa Mvuemba, the creative force behind Hanifa, is known for her celebrated knit dresses and cardigans, worn by stars like Bella Hadid, Zendaya, and Kylie Jenner. In 2020, she shook the fashion world with a viral 3D fashion show that challenged traditional presentation methods.