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5 Black Designers Doing It For The Culture

5 Black Designers Doing It For The Culture

These Black Designers Are Ones To Watch

Beauty & Fashion

Fashion designers masterfully use the art of aesthetics to apply designs and natural beauty to clothing and accessories. Since the beginning of time, it has been influenced by cultural and social concepts. And as we all know, our culture is THE culture.


I love that fashion is an instant language that allows one to convey their thoughts and opinions without saying a word. I am so thankful for designers who create pieces that help me speak my truth as a woman of color. While women keep the fashion world moving, it is proven that the industry is dominated by white men. This is why it's extremely important to support the designers that look like us.

We have gathered a few Black designers we believe you should watch out and root for:

1.Nareasha Willis of Avenue N &The Black Vogue Movement

Nareasha Willis describes herself as a fashion activist. She is best known for her Black Vogue Movement. With the photo of her design, "Ghetto Until Proven Fashionable" during Paris Fashion Week going viral, she started a much needed conversation about cultural appropriation in the fashion world.

Nareasha created Avenue N in 2013 to showcase her street chic style. She also wanted to spotlight Black designers in the New Jersey area. Avenue N birthed the Black Vogue Movement, which is a social justice movement that seeks equity in the fashion industry. She said, "It inspired me to continue AVNU as a full fashion line that uses fashion as a tool to make political statements and spark controversial conversations that are long overdue."

We had a chance to chat with the up and coming designer and she is excited for what's to come in the new year. The New Jersey native told us, "I look forward to applying Dr. Amos Wilson's philosophy that 'we as a people cannot consume our way into equality, yet we must produce ourselves into equality'. I look forward to watching my people as well as myself continue to build more tables for us to sit at. As creatives, we have to produce more positive content of Black people to erase the stereotypes society has placed on us."

She went on to say, "My supporters should be excited for my work to come because I am elevating, not only [by] producing new items [but also] better content that celebrates our culture. My main goal is to convert commerce into conversations that lead to revolutions and solutions."

Featured image by Nareasha Willis/Black Vogue.

Are you excited for these designers? Share some other black designers you are rooting for in 2019!

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When the NYT posted an article this week about the recent marriage of a Black woman VP of a multi-billion-dollar company and a Black man who took her on a first date at the parking lot of a Popeyes, the reaction on social media was swift and polarizing. The two met on Hinge and had their parking lot rendezvous after he’d canceled their first two dates. When the groom posted a photo from their wedding on social media, he bragged about how he never had “pressure” to take her on “any fancy dates or expensive restaurants.”

It’s worth reading on your own to get the full breadth of all the foolery that transpired. But the Twitter discourse it inspired on what could lead a successful Black woman to accept lower than bare minimum in pursuit of a relationship and marriage, made me think of the years of messaging that Black women receive about how our standards are too high and what we have to “bring to the table” in order to be "worthy" of what society has deemed is the ultimate showing of our worth: a marriage to a man.

That's right, the first pandemic I lived through was not Covid, but the pandemic of the Black male relationship expert. I was young – thirteen to be exact – when Steve Harvey published his best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Though he was still just a stand-up comedian, oversized suit hoarder, and man on his third marriage at the time, his relationship advice was taken as the gospel truth.

The 2000s were a particularly bleak time to be a single Black woman. Much of the messaging –created by men – that surrounded Black women at the time blamed their desire for a successful career and for a partner that matched their drive and ambition for the lack of romance in their life. Statistics about Black women’s marriageability were always wielded against Black women as evidence of our lack of desirability.

It’s no wonder then that a man that donned a box cut well into the 2000s was able to convince women across the nation to not have sex for the first three months of a relationship. Or that a slew of other Black men had their go at telling Black women that they’re not good enough and why their book, seminar, or show will be the thing that makes them worthy of a Good Man™.

This is how we end up marrying men who cancel twice before taking us on a “date” in the Popeyes parking lot, or husbands writing social media posts about how their Black wife is not “the most beautiful” or “the most intelligent” or the latest season of trauma dumping known as Black Love on OWN.

Now that I’ve reached my late twenties, many things about how Black women approach dating and relationships have changed and many things have remained the same. For many Black women, the idea of chronic singleness is not the threat that it used to be. Wanting romance doesn’t exist in a way that threatens to undermine the other relationships we have with our friends, family, and ourselves as it once did, or at least once was presented to us. There is a version of life many of us are embracing where a man not wanting us, is not the end of what could still be fruitful and vibrant life.

There are still Black women out there however who have yet to unlearn the toxic ideals that have been projected onto us about our worthiness in relation to our intimate lives. I see it all the time online. The absolute humiliation and disrespect some Black women are willing to stomach in the name of being partnered. The hoops that some Black women are willing to jump through just to receive whatever lies beneath the bare minimum.

It's worth remembering that there are different forces at play that gather to make Black women feast off the scraps we are given. A world saturated by colorism, fatphobia, anti-Blackness, ableism, and classism will always punish Black women who demand more for themselves. Dismantling these systems also means divesting from any and everything that makes us question our worth.

Because truth be told, Black women are more than worthy of having a love that is built on mutual respect and admiration. A love that is honey sweet and radiates a light that rivals the sun. A love that is a steadying calming force that doesn’t bring confusion or anxiety. Black women deserve a love that is worthy of the prize that we are.

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Featured image: Getty Images

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