African American Fashion Designers Who Deserve Your Attention

Updated: May 10

by Jasmine Ledesma

Photo as featured in She's SINGLE Magazine, Fall Issue Key Piece(s)

Andrea Iyamah Tropical as a thin glass of punch, sometimes frilled and always momentous, gifted designer Andrea Iyamah’s fashion needs no introduction. Her line of fluorescent, flirtatious clothing, excites the eye. The fun, punchy colors and designs are inspired not only by Iyamah’s birthplace of Nigeria but by Africa on the whole. Her start on the self titled brand of swimwear and dresses began when Iyamah was only seventeen years old, after she taught herself about fashion. Her talent blooms through the fabric of what she makes and there is no doubt she will continue to spin heads as time stretches on. Christopher John Rogers Until February of this year, Christopher John Rogers, whose mere golden syllabled name demands attention, worked on his designs from the belly of his Bushwick apartment. He probably heard delis closing up as he pressed thread through a needle. A true artist sleeps on the floor until the work is done, and then until a chance springs through the window. Rogers’ chance looked like a presentation of his fall 2020 collection on the Vogue runway. His outfits glimmered beneath the stage lights. A full series of frilled, silky, shaped golds, beachy greens, frostbite blacks and blues. Each outfit is more domineering than the last. The models looked like the bottle you touch to make the genie come out. Or maybe, the wishes you make. African-British Jehu-Cal Emmanuel Enemokwu According to Jehu-Cal’s website, his name signifies and symbolizes his freedom. Beneath this name, which used to be the root of bullying in his childhood, he has “full control” over the way he lives, provides for himself and produces clothes. He has taken reign of what his name does for him. If you look further on his website, you can see the treasure he is protecting: spinach green, straight edged collared jackets reminiscent of the wild, wild, west. Hoodies with vampire white, glowing letters to fend off any ghouls you might find at night. Even the umbrellas, which look like daily newspapers, impress. His products are cool, sleek, and daring. Keep an eye on Jehu-Cal.

Olivia Anthony In her instagram bio, Olivia states, “I am a light to the world” and upon further investigation, it is easy to see where this confidence stems from. Her clothing is a mesh of playful rainbows, gaudy buttons, loose silky pants and layers of fur like cake. Her models are endearing, staring into the camera with a look that could either kill or delight. Perhaps both. Olivia seems to have no trouble bleeding into different categories, fabrics or styles. Her looks are goo. They’ll stick to you forever if you let them. And you’ll probably want to.

Ouigi Theodore The BK Circus, the slightly political, ever charming company that sprouted from the typically hatted head of Ouigi Theodore, describes itself as, “a menswear brand that finds inspiration in the pages of history books.” This means that each and every piece of clothing, which range from classic caps to pleated, black varsity jackets, has a past woven between the threads. Ouigi has a clear sense of purpose and drive. Although The BK Circus is located in one of the noisiest corners of the country, its individual music blares above the rest.


Pierre Davis In Italian, the pinkest language, “No Sesso” can be translated into “No Gender” which is Pierre Davis’s mantra behind her clothing. The brand’s models, all of them people of color and either gender non-conforming or transgender, stand in Pierre’s clashing puddles of outfits that resemble grandiose sports jerseys, prom dresses, and the nets fruit come wrapped in. There is a sense of calm chaos within her designs. The outfits are claiming their space while simultaneously curating it. With an impressive accomplishment of being the first transgender designer at the ever prestigious NYFW beneath her belt, Pierre Davis has nowhere to go but up.

Pyer Moss If I had to describe Pyer Moss in one word it would be light. Light that rings out. Light that is infectious as a happy fever. The silks are brightly colored like the ends of a rainbow. There are lush, powdered baby blues, floral yellows, blushing pinks, sassy tangerines. The outfits are regal, like tigers on fat chains. They are fun, too. They exclaim and run and aren’t afraid of anything. They probably feel like wearing crowns, ruling over everything you can see.


Shanel Campbell When Shanel was a child being raised in the beehive of Bronx, her father used to say that the only enjoyable part of going to work was getting dressed in the morning. Now 27 years old, Shanel has created a wardrobe with an intention to critique various systems that need to be dismantled and prodded. She is designing war gear, something to defend what needs to be defended. Her website, which is a piece of art on its own, features striking, dismembered outfits with the lines similar to those on a map, embedded into the thread. In seeing her creations, one fact is clear. Shanel is here for victory and will do whatever it takes to get there.

Studio One Eighty Nine

Although not the creation of a sole person but two people, Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, Studio One Eighty-Nine is greatly composed with a singular mission. To help others. Made in Africa, this company produces bright, unique, stunning content and clothing inspired by Africa.

Not only do they sell and promote various pieces of beautiful designs, but they educate consumers on how to avoid damaging the earth and others while making clothing. This

wonderful sense of compassion and awareness truly makes Studio One Eighty-Nine a force to be reckoned with.



Telfar Clemons

He, nor his designs, need any introduction. Telfar Clemens is on its way to becoming a household name. Its mission is to make clothing “for everyone” and at prices ranging from two hundred dollars to even fifty dollars, considerably low for such elite products, this mission is being fulfilled. Clemens offers nifty, trendy hats, precious purses, ski masks, and jeans with holes in the thighs. As the company has been around since 2005, the attention and shine Clemens has been receiving is more than well deserved.



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