Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

African American Fashion Designers Taking The Industry by Storm



Recently, there has been some race-related issues plaguing the fashion world, but that hasn't stopped African American designers from taking the world by storm with their eye-catching designs cascading down the runway at NYFW Spring/Summer 19. February is Black History Month and the perfect time to highlight African American designers.


(Photo by Studio 189)

Studio 189

Studio 189 is the brainchild of Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah. It’s an artisan-produced fashion lifestyle brand and a social enterprise with dual headquarters in Accra, Ghana and the USA. The brand currently operates a store in New York and Accra, Ghana an eCommerce site, a manufacturing facility in Accra, and supports various community-led projects in Africa and the USA. They specialize in traditional craftsmanship techniques such as natural plant-based dye indigo, hand-batik, kente weaving, and more, with a focus on empowerment, creating jobs, and supporting education and skills training. Studio 189 is the recipient of various awards including the Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice award from UPenn in 2015, and recently the prestigious CFDA Lexus Sustainable Fashion Initiative Award. If you are looking for some unique and traditional pieces check out Studio 189.


(Photo by CUSHNIE)


CUSHNIE is a luxury women’s ready-to-wear and accessories brand designed by Carly Cushnie in 2008. CUSHNIE is known for creating pieces with clean sculptural lines. The CUSHNIE Collection is precisely tailored to achieve the perfect fit for the female form. At the helm of her namesake label as CEO, Creative Director and Co-Founder Carly Cushnie’s mission is to empower women and to celebrate diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the business. The brand was a winner of the Ecco Domani Award in 2009, a finalist for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2011, and a nominee for the CFDA Swarovski Award in 2012. If you are looking for some minimalist, feminine pieces, check out CUSHNIE.  

Photo by No Sesso

No Sesso

Founded in 2015 by Pierre Davis along with Arin Hayes, together they’ve created a line that challenges the conventions of fashion, art, culture, and design. The fashion house No Sesso is located in Los Angeles. It’s Italian for “no sex/no gender” and it celebrates the community it serves with their collections, fashion presentations, parties, and educational activities. A community-powered brand that focuses on empowering people of all colors, shapes, and identities, No Sesso has stolen the spotlight with collections that feature a wide range of prints, fabrics, reconstructed materials, and most notably, their signature hand embroidery. If you are looking for some unconventional fashion check out No Sesso.


African American designers are a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry, so let's celebrate, support, and uplift them. With spring around the corner, now is the perfect time to check out some new designers.

Racquel is a graduate student at Agnes Scott College, majoring in Writing and Digital Communications. She holds a B.A. in Mass Media Arts from Clark Atlanta University. In her free time, you can catch her blogging about all things fashion and beauty related.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️