FOUR BLACK WOMEN DESIGNERS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Fashion design is not known for inclusivity: it takes phenomenal talent and tenacity to excel in a world defined by European standards. Today, we recognize four black women designers whose phenomenal work champions diverse standards of beauty and challenges the status quo:  

 Tracey Reese in a tee shirt with Angela Davis quote. Image: Anna Webber

Tracey Reese in a tee shirt with Angela Davis quote. Image: Anna Webber

Tracey Reese grew up making clothes alongside her mother on their matching sewing machines in Detroit. A Parsons and Perry Ellis alum, her namesake line is vintage-inspired and ultra-feminine; it has earned a cult following that includes Michelle Obama and Halle Berry.

 Michelle Ochs and Carly Cushnie of Cushnie et Ochs. Image: Stylebistro

Michelle Ochs and Carly Cushnie of Cushnie et Ochs. Image: Stylebistro

Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs launched Cushnie et Ochs after graduating Parsons in 2008. Focused on clean lines and the perfect fit, Cushnie et Ochs has a reputation for design that juxtaposes sensuality and sophistication: Adriana Lima, Kerry Washington, Olivia Wilde, and Eva Longoria are devoted fans. NOTE: the pair recently split professionally, Ms. Cushnie remains at the line.

 Aurora James in Africa. Image: aurorajames.com

Aurora James in Africa. Image: aurorajames.com

Toronto native and New York City transplant Aurora James is Creative Director for Brother Vellies. She has two goals for the line: introduce the rest of the world to her favorite traditional African footwear, and create sustainable work for artisans in South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Morocco. A member of CFDA since 2016, Ms. James won the coveted 2015 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.

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PS: You can shop many of these designers -and other lines that represent diverse talent- at Common Threads Boulder and Denver.