How many black designers can you name? If you can't make it past Tracy Reese then you're not alone.
The number of successful designers of color is just as bad as the deplorable representation of black models on the runway. While the lack of diversity within the fashion industry remains a pressing issue, we want to take a moment to celebrate the folks who have or are trying to make their presence known.
With that said, as New York Fashion Week kicks off today and the collections for Spring 2014 begin to hit the runway, we're thrilled to report that 22 of them will be the work of black designers.
"Project Runway" alum Kimberly Goldson, Celebrity-cum-designer Angela Simmons and the super cute sisters behind the William Okpo line, Darlene and Lizzy Okpo, are just a few of the fab designers showing this season. And of course, Harlem's Fashion Row will continue its unwavering dedication to highlighting the talent of black designers with its annual show.
Although only two designers -- Tracy Reese and B. Michael -- will be presenting in the official Fashion Week tents at Lincoln Center, It's still nice to see a roster of talented and diverse designers showing throughout the city. Don't you agree?
Check out the slideshow below to see all 22 of the amazing black designers who are ready to take New York Fashion Week by storm.
<a href="http://pyermoss.com/" target="_blank">Pyer Moss </a> <blockquote>"Armed with impeccable Fashion sense and the business savvy and over decade of fashion experience Jean-Raymond launches his first menswear collection Pyer Moss at the age of 26. Pyer Moss is a menswear collection grounded in menswear staples realized in luxe fabrics and highlighting impeccable tailoring."</blockquote> (Pyer Moss website)
Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs
<a href="http://www.cushnieetochs.com/" target="_blank">Cushnie et Ochs</a> <blockquote>"CUSHNIE ET OCHS embodies a unique sensibility that seamlessly combines a bold sensuality with a raw feminine attitude that is confidently understated and luxuriously modern. The designers' inherent understanding of the female body informs their body-contouring silhouettes while celebrating the women who wear them."</blockquote> (Cushnie et Ochs website)
<a href="http://www.kimberlygoldson.com/" target="_blank">Kimberly Goldson </a> <blockquote>"Kimberly Goldson is known for using luxurious fabrics in classic shapes with a dash of modern aesthetic to create its trademark pants, statement-making dresses, tuxedo-inspired suits, and versatile separates. The brand's mission is to empower women through clothing, enabling women to take on whatever the day (or night) throws at them." </blockquote> (Kimberly Goldson website)
<a href="http://www.harbisoncollection.com/" target="_blank">Harbison</a> <blockquote>"HARBISON is designed for the woman who embraces her femininity…and her masculinity. It speaks to sexual vulnerability and strength, to the hard and the soft within each of us—a balance of contradictions."</blockquote> (Harbison website)
<a href="http://www.tracyreese.com/" target="_blank">Tracy Reese </a> <blockquote>"Reese’s style is unabashedly girly, but made to fit the lifestyles (and bodies) of real women. With a namesake label and bridge lines and offshoots—ranging from home and shoes to nail polish and hosiery—the brand has captured great commercial success and recognition across many categories."</blockquote> (New York Magazine)
<a href="http://www.sandroromans.com/" target="_blank">Sandro Romans </a> <blockquote>"Sandro Romans is a menswear line that believes men shouldn't be limited in how they dress. The line is a whimsical mix of masculine and feminine aesthetics and uses simple silhouettes and rich materials to present a modern yet accessible image."</blockquote> (Sandro Romans website)
<a href="http://angelaiam.com/fashion/" target="_blank"> Angela I Am by Angela Simmons</a> <blockquote>"Her clothing line is garnering rave reviews for its expert construction and tailoring and its youthful, modern look. Chic pieces like a turtleneck with an open back straddle the line between unstudied cool and brazen sex appeal while sporty outfits like sweatpants with knee patches worn with heels are both masculine and feminine."</blockquote> (Clutch Magazine)
Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne
<a href="http://publicschoolnyc.com/" target="_blank">Public School </a> <blockquote>"Public School, made entirely in the NYC garment district, is redefining the landscape for men’s tailored sportswear. Chow and Osborne look to find perfection in imperfection, taking classic silhouettes and updating them through a modern lens by mixing high and low references from fashion, music and art into their work."</blockquote> (CFDA website)
<a href="http://www.bmichaelamerica.com/" target="_blank">B. Michael America</a> <blockquote>"Particular to B Michael, he heightens his couture aesthetic by infusing emotions such as joy, adding a discernible feeling and festive mood to his creations. The designer describes his signature style, “It is a modern approach to glamour. It is also about achieving a very sophisticated, yet simplistic look. A woman who wears b michael knows how to wear a basic dress and make it look glamorous.” </blockquote> (B. Michael website)
Darlene and Lizzy Okpo
<a href="http://williamokpo.com/" target="_blank">William Okpo</a> <blockquote>"With William Okpo, the Okpo sisters wish to illustrate the unique aesthetic that results from the juxtaposition of the immigrant's sense of style against American cultural sensibilities, offering the modern feminine designs with touches of masculine elements. William Okpo is for women who celebrate their cultivated sense of style."</blockquote> (William Okpo website)
<a href="http://www.hoodbyair.com/" target="_blank">Hood By Air </a> <blockquote>"Shayne seeks the meaning and philosophy behind everything – to say he is a thinking man’s designer is an understatement...Shayne created his line Hood by Air partly in response to the hypocrisy he observed while hanging on the street with the skater boys, whom he noticed had just as much attitude about their style as someone into high fashion."</blockquote> (StyleLikeU.com)
<a href="http://www.davidtlale.com/" target="_blank">David Tlale </a> <blockquote>"Tlale's daring and bold, his brand is the one that defies convention and impenitently employs unpredictable use and understanding craftsmanship, fabric, color and texture."</blockquote> (David Tlale website)
<a href="http://laquansmith.com/" target="_blank">LaQuan Smith </a> <blockquote>"Smith has developed a reputation for bold, sexy designs and unabashedly unusual shapes. "Some people consider my clothes to be a little bit provocative. I would say so, but that's not my goal. It's about feeling comfortable within your own skin."</blockquote> (Paper Magazine)
<a href="http://www.espionatelier.com/" target="_blank">ESPION by Deidre Jefferies</a> <blockquote>"Deidre Jefferies defines her design aesthetic as “the future of classic clothing”. The ESPION collection has unexpected combinations of male and female elements. She finds the beauty in all things masculine and strength in all things feminine. The label is opulent and sophisticated, dark and beautiful. Fur, lambskin, rich double-faced cashmere, and fluid silks are woven into the designer’s laser sharp palette"</blockquote> (ESPION website)
<a href="http://www.belstaff.com/" target="_blank">Belstaff </a> <blockquote>"In the heart of Martin Cooper, you will find the essence of a man whose creative focus has propelled artists and designers throughout history. He is an accomplished clothing designer, fine artist and costumer. Three chapters, one life."</blockquote> (Martin Cooper website)
<a href="http://www.shouldbeapparel.com/" target="_blank">Way It Should Be</a> <blockquote>"The name of the line aptly sums up its fashion ethos – that clothing should be from sustainable and organic sources. Hence why they use organic materials, non-synthetic dyes, recycled zippers and seeded paper for the hang tags (you can actually plant them and they will bloom)."</blockquote> (MyAyiti.com)
<a href="http://www.modahnik.com/" target="_blank">Modahnik </a> <blockquote>"MODAHNIK is known for the mix of vibrant colors with bold prints. Having lived and traveled in Africa, Europe and America, Kahindo expertly combines these different stylistic elements, bringing a unique point of view to her design aesthetic. A native of the The Democratic Republic of Congo, she pulls inspiration from the Avant Garde spirit of the Congolese art and culture."</blockquote> (Modahnik website)
<a href="http://kithebrewstercollection.com/" target="_blank">Kithe Brewster Collection</a> <blockquote>"Kithe Brewster’s unique perspective and unrivaled creativity in design affords his clients the luxury of ultimate style, while keeping them on the most talked about fashion listings around the world."</blockquote> (Bella Petite website)
Sonja Rubin and Kip Chapelle
<a href="http://shop.rubinchapelle.com/" target="_blank">Rubin & Chapelle</a> <blockquote>"RUBIN&CHAPELLE is passionate about designing products for women and men who appreciate and insist upon true style, quality, and sophistication."</blockquote> (Rubin & Chapelle website)
<a href="http://thestylemonk.com/" target="_blank">Jérôme 5:31</a> <blockquote>"As a fashion consultant and trend forecaster, Lamaar has provided accurate directing for brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Victoria’s Secret, Timberland, Rocawear, Osh Kosh, GAP, and North Face."</blockquote> (Essence.com)
<a href="http://www.telfar.net/" target="_blank">Telfar</a> <blockquote>"Multiple eternal concepts can be seen in Telfar’s clothes, with many of the ideas blurred together into one piece. He takes the classic polo and makes it modern and green by using recycled hand-dyed fabric, and garments that are sizeless and genderless in construction and shape."</blockquote> (StyleLikeU.com)
Kera Anderson and Nicole Styler
<a href="http://www.knicolecouture.com/" target="_blank">K. Nicole Couture</a> <blockquote>"The duo has set out to create a line that offers a mixture of ready-to-wear and couture pieces, with its tasteful selections of Italian prints and other luxury textiles."</blockquote> (K. Nicole Couture website)