conversation – BLACK EXCELLENCE IN FASHION

written by Brandon Broadus  

The road to becoming a household name in fashion has never been easy for black designers. The constant scrutiny and marginalization of their works despite centuries of innovation have made contributed to the continued homogenization of the higher rungs of fashion. So we must stand together to boost the signal of those outstanding black fashion designers so that than can continue to inspire generations to come.

Nigerian born designer Mowalola Ogunlesi is one of the world’s foremost perennial talents in the realm of fashion design. Her eponymous label Mowalola offers a refreshingly jarring approach to fashion bucking the status quo with its unconventional silhouettes and gripping fabrics. Not only does the brand push the envelope contextually they also blur the lines of gender normality with its distinct unisex offering. Originally founded in 2017 in london and now sold in some of the best retailers across the globe, mowalola has solidified her place amongst an impressive class of generational contemporary designers.

 
Training formally at one of the worlds best intuitions of fashion in Central Saint Martins of London, Mowalola was able to attain a distinct certainty that would guide her vision to quick fruition. A far-cry from her youth in Nigeria, this daughter of traditional clothiers navigated the challenge of limited technological access to a sense of wonderment. One which she followed to apprentice under likes of 2016 LVMH prize winner in Grace Wales Bonner. Under Bonner and alongside her eventual developmental partner in Far East London she learned the ropes of luxury and storytelling can crafted a polished vision she now shares with the world.
 
Boldly asking the questions others may hesitate to, Mowalola goes deep to find out what makes us all tick. In her exploration of our innermosts affinities and lusts she manages to evoke an emotional arousal that translates throughout her collections. Reinforced through a continued juxtaposition of tradition and suggestive  cultural Themes,  Its clear Mowalola not only loves to walk the line she unapologetically enjoys hopping it as well. 

CFDA Award winning designer Telfar Clemens is a league of his own. The new york bred fashion designer has reinvigorated the American spirit with his namesake label Telfar. A proudly unisex brand since 2005, Telfar has always created the curve that others would follow from a narrow distance. After years of toiling the city streets and shaping underground countercultures his hard work has manifested into one of the worlds most sought after brands today.

 
In 2017 Clemons after winning American fashions most coveted awards he decided unconventionally invest his prize earnings into perfecting a single item as opposed to many. The result… a modern and bold staple that would go on to define a decade in the signature Telfar bag. Opting to emphasize affordably and utilitarianism, the signature vegan leather beauty has earned its title as “the bushwick birkin.” 
 
In addition to his range of colorful accessories telfar also produces a wide range of thought driven ready-to-wear. His affinity for layered extravagance translates in his iconic runway shows. Surreal  sceneries of the elitists are commandeered and reformatted to the will of Clemons evoking distinct and lasting visions of his new proletariat.  A hierarchy devoid tandem where there are no rules just unabashed imagination.

A student of several disciplines, Londons own Grace Wales Bonner has created a new world in which we must shift of lens of beauty. Her namesake luxury label Wales Bonner, headquartered in her native London, follows the faintest lines of conventional fashion traditions and blurs through the rest. Originally beginning as a sole menswear label, through increasing global success and high praise from the most esteemed media outlets and retailers in the world Wales Bonner now touts an entire lifestyle offering. 

 
Like so many of fashion elite, Bonner is a prodigy of London fashion institution Central Saint Martins. Here she gained incredible experience having the opportunity to work alongside the best, honing her signature style. As such a stellar student it would come as no surprise to many that her 2014 graduation runway collection would go on to spark a new era in luxury fashion design. In 2016 Wales Bonner won one of the most coveted awards in a young designers career in the LVMH prize and it officially solidified the brand in the global luxury stratosphere.
 
Known for her fine detailing and impeccable construction her works reflect a new self image of the African and European diasporas. History and its rewriting are effervescent in her efforts. Each collection utilizes Bonners masterful storytelling ability to craft transformative narratives that almost are of a new period in time. While young, Grace Wales Bonner growing list of accomplishments as a designer and precede her. She has taught and inspired and continues to fiercely blaze a new trail of elegance for the next generation.

Shop the latest Mowalola collection here.

Shop the latest Telfar collection here.

Shop the latest Wales Bonner collection.

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