Despite all the talk around inclusivity in fashion, the industry remains very White. While there has been some increased visibility for creators of color, Black designers are still severely underrepresented as they struggle to build sustainable brands. Haitian couturier Victor Glemaud is changing that. As one of the few designers of color whose creations are sold in major retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, Glemaud hopes to educate his colleagues on the business of fashion. “It’s an industry based on commerce, requiring lawyers, accountants, freight forwarders and warehouses,” he says.
“These components are essential in building success and selling clothes.” Glemaud learned the inner workings of the biz through time spent at top labels. After a stint as Patrick Robinson’s design assistant, he joined public relations firm KCD in 2000, representing fashion heavyweights like Versace and Marc Jacobs. He went on to become womens wear design adviser at Paco Rabanne and style director at Tommy Hilfiger. Deciding to launch his own menswear line in 2006, the New Yorker had to put things on hold five years later.
While he reassessed his plans, he freelanced as a designer with brands in the U.S. and Europe. In 2016, he reintroduced his namesake collection as a women’s knitwear brand, pulling inspo from his island roots. Promoting the lineup with a guerrilla poster campaign and a dynamic social media strategy paid off.
A year later, Glemaud was a finalist for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and was honored by then ambassador of Haiti to the United States, Paul Altidor. Glemaud’s star continues to rise, thanks to celeb clients like Laura Harrier, Issa Rae and Iman. Along with building on his success, however, he remains intent on supporting the next generation of designers. “We are all in this together,” he says, “so why not help folks avoid the mistakes you’ve learned from?”