Invisible Black Designers

Written By bryanboy

Invisible Black Designers

You know, I just had this weird thing that popped in my head. Critics say the fashion industry is one of the racist industries out there, ie. the odd token ethnic person on runway shows etc, the lack of ethnic models on the covers of magazines, etc etc etc. Well, screw the models for now. One thing I noticed is the lack of prominent black designers. I mean, I know good ol’ Anna Wintour loves them gaysians as they invade New York these days, names like Phillip Lim, Thakoon, Doo. Ri and Peter Som. Anna Sui and Vera Wang on
the other hand are iconic institutions. I know Ozwald Boateng is the hotness, Tracey Reese is cool and Rachel Roy is fast becoming a favourite amongst the New York social set. As for Kimmora… well, bitch ain’t black, she’s a transexual giant.

Now. Is it just me or is there a distinct lack of black
designers in the NYC/London/Milan/Paris fashion arena? I’m sure there
are black designers out there, other than Xuly Bet, no? If that’s the case, where?

Ozwald Boateng
Photo credit: King Magazine Sweden

Just curious, that’s all. Please don’t shoot me. I was a black person in my previous life you know. I believe in reincarnation so in my next life, I’m gonna be a gorgeous, thin Somalian princess named Tamika Woogoolahulu.


  1. Triscuit Wheatsworth III

    Tamika Woogoolahulu, lol.
    Black designers, I don’t know; Cy Bianco?

  2. They’re out there. But their designs aren’t precisely mainstream. Most Black designers have a propensity to design for the Hip Hop crowd. It’s all about targeting your market.

  3. hmmm, i think you are forgetting miguel androver, patrick robinson, lawrence steele and sean combs “diddy”.

  4. Hello, I came to your site through a link from another blog and it has had me laughing the whole way through! You’re good, damn good. You actually remove the quasi-superior air of the industry and find laughter at the kookiness that can be fashion.
    I felt compelled to comment on your post, addressing the lack of black designers and diversity in the fashion industry. Contrary to the belief that all black designers design hip hop fashions, there are black designers that focus on mainstream ready-to-wear fashion. They just aren’t courted or supported in the media and the fashion industry. Period. You might have a Duro Olowu that breaks ground occasionally but overall your sentiments are correct. I wrote an editorial with the same theme on my site,, concerning the continued lack of models of color on the fashion runways. My exasperation and continued disappointment in this fact concerning the very industry I work is intense. I can’t begin to examine the invisible black designer phenomenon for at least another two weeks. But as with all things, change will occur. Please review my post, Missing In Fashion: Models of Color at:

  5. Karasi by Koko Thompson

    Most Black fashion designers don’t go for the Hip Hop. As a student studying fashion in an all Black school only 3 out of the 30 od us are actually gearing to the Hip Hop/ Urban brands. The opportunity for us to go mainstream is livid. I often thought about doing Urban wear to break into the market, a la Phat Farm and Baby Phat. We are being discourage from the beginning. I atteded a major fashion school just out of college and off jump they catgorized me in urban wear without looking at my designs or anything. In the fashion industry Black equals urban, unless you totally separate yourself from the culture if you want to or not.

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