The world does not progress without Black creativity, and that’s nowhere more apparent than in the fashion industry. Throughout history, Black men and women played pivotal roles in creating and advancing technical aspects within the fashion industry, while simultaneously demonstrating previously unseen innovation. Despite mainstream acceptance or acclaim, there isn’t a sector of this industry that a Black person hasn’t significantly impacted.
From couturier Ann Lowe - who created the wedding gown that Jackie Kennedy wore to marry JFK in 1953 - to global icon André Leon Talley - the first Back male creative director at VOGUE; the past several decades are saturated with intriguing and brilliant Black creatives.
With the first fashion season of the year in full swing, it proved to be the perfect time to highlight the impact of Black creativity in fashion. From editorial to show production to styling, the business of fashion is complex and requires departments to perfectly align in order to deliver an exceptional product.
Keep reading to learn about 7 Black creatives that are making moves in the industry while constantly creating spaces for others to flourish.
Shelby Ivey Christie
For years, Shelby Ivey Christie has been a staple in the social discourse, especially the intersection of fashion and race. As a fashion and costume historian, Shelby was recognized by Forbes' ‘30 Under 30’ and an honoree for the VOGUE Business 100 Innovator. On Twitter and Instagram, one can find Shelby delivering insightful and thoughtful commentary in a hilarious and digestible way.
From incredible deep dives into Black fashion history to hilarious takes on fashion’s breaking news, Shelby delivers insightful and thoughtful commentary in a digestible way, which has helped to solidify her status as a powerful emerging player in the fashion industry.
At this point, what can’t Ivy Coco not do? As the founder of the clothing line ‘House of Ivy’ and the newest stylist for her mother Sheryl Lee Ralph, Ivy Coco is an emerging force in the fashion industry. But, she doesn’t just serve looks, she also serves her community. For years, Ivy has been the creative director for WalkGood LA, an organization dedicated to bringing people together from all walks of life to fight for racial equity. Because of her work, Ivy was recently named in the CCNYC’s 2023 Creative Class, which celebrates Black culture-shifters across a variety of disciplines.
Dubbed the Internet’s “Mother Nature,” Aïssata Diallo is a dynamic content creator and model with close to 1M followers across her social platforms. Aïssata focuses on modest dressing, incorporating extraordinary shapes and textures to achieve style icon status. Aside from showcasing exceptional outfits and looks, Aïssata utilizes her platform to bring awareness to places and issues close to her heart.
A veteran in the fashion industry at this point, Gabby Prescod is a fashion editor with a strong presence across all social media platforms, for both her fearless looks and equally witty commentary. Rising through the ranks of the editorial world, Gabby is currently working as the fashion director at large for Blanc Magazine. And if you still can’t get enough, be sure to watch her debut season on the Bravo hit show Summer House, airing now!
Another veteran in the editorial industry, Jessica Cruel is the current Editor-In-Chief for Allure magazine and had a huge impact in creating diversity and inclusivity at one of the biggest magazines in fashion. When she’s not updating her audience on the latest fashion news, she’s dishing out advice on home ownership and home renovations, aptly named #LandlordLesssons by her following.
With over 14 years of expertise specializing in fashion and lifestyle communications, Sandrine started her own business in 2016, Sandrine Charles Consulting. While building a business that centers on championing emerging brands, Sandrine saw a lack of opportunities for Black creatives in fashion and decided to help. In 2020, she co-founded Black In Fashion Council with Lindsay Peoples, to represent and secure the advancement of Black individuals in the fashion and beauty industry.
If there’s one person who understands the importance of representation in fashion, it’s content creator-turned-entrepreneur, Shannae Ingleton-Smith - better known as @TorontoShay to her loyal followers. After building a community of engaged fashion enthusiasts and dominating the industry for years, Shannae saw a huge gap in the marketing world for Black and brown creatives. This is the idea that led to the creation of Kensington Grey Agency, a boutique influencer agency rooted in diversity.
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Feature image by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images for Allure