Every September in New York just after Labor Day, the city ushers in the fall season by kicking off New York Fashion Week.
The pavements come alive with an influx of studded heels and well-turned shoes strutting to and from hundreds of runway shows, and the streets are inundated with sharp-dressed fashionistas hailing yellow taxi cabs.
ESSENCE is always on the scene, of course, but we’re not just there to have a good time; we’re also there to support some of our favorite Black designers. While we’d love to see more designers of color represented and showing their collections, we’re also excited for the handful who have put in the work and are getting the recognition they deserve.
Keep reading to check out our list of the Black designers to watch during this year’s New York Fashion Week and then be sure to grab your tickets to join us as we celebrate all things Black style, fashion and beauty at the 2018 ESSENCE Street Style Festival.
Kerby Jean-Raymond (for Pyer Moss)
Perfectly translating what’s happening in the news and Black culture (and placing it on the runway), Jean-Raymond has always been ahead of the curve with his documentary style collections. As a voice of the people, he has continuously used fashion as a platform for social change.
Sexy and curvaceous are the two adjectives that quickly come to mind when describing Smith’s designs. He has dressed Beyoncé (most recently for the OTR II tour), Cardi B, Kim Kardashian and many others. Most recently, he was announced as a collaborator with fashion retail giant ASOS, making his coveted designs available to the masses.
With a penchant for soft and flowy dresses and a bohemian lifestyle, Jones always hits the mark when it comes to his resort offerings. His designs are for the woman (and man), on the go that loves to pair leisure with luxe.
Witty, charismatic and tuned-in, Hunte’s creations take what’s classically tailored and spin them for a fresh and modern approach to sportswear. An ESSENCE Street Style Award-winner, Hunte has an affinity for leather and fur—and dark-skinned models on his runway!
Telfar Clemens (for Telfar)
This CFDA Award-winner has captured the hearts of Anna Wintour, Solange and countless others with his one-of-a-kind, unisex offerings. Telfar easily nails the concepts of asymmetry and its juxtaposition with real-time social issues. His boundary-breaking concepts allow for freedom and individuality within fashion.
Yemi Osunkoya (for Kosibah)
For 27 years, this Nigerian-born designer has been steadily amassing a strong client following, including thousands of admirers on Instagram. This year will mark the first time his couture bridal and evening wear designs will be shown for New York Fashion Week.