The current climate of the world has put a special focus on Black designers. Many fashion labels led by creatives of color have been pushed to the spotlight within the past few months due to the deaths of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. In this time, messaging matters. As life starts to normalize after COVID-19 and the polarizing deaths of Black Americans, the hope is that the support for Black creatives will continue.
“Support is important because everybody doesn’t have the same visibility. These brands don’t all have PR companies. A lot of them are fully in-house. They’re mom-and-pop style,” celebrity stylist Bryon Javar tells ESSENCE. Javar’s client roster includes Saweetie, City Girls and now Amanda Seales. The pair worked together for the 2020 BET Awards, in which the stylist dressed Seales in all Black designers while the entertainer hosted the show. “It’s the BET Awards. I’ve always wanted to style a host for this. I’m happy and grateful that now I finally had that opportunity,” he exclaims.
Because Seales taped her hosting segments at home, she was able to change 13 times and nail wearing Black-owned fashion labels. Seales rocked Black designers—from Pyer Moss to Sergio Hudson to custom Dapper Dan—even down to the accessories. “There was no, ifs, ands or buts about it. We were using Black designers,” exclaims Javar.
The stylist also payed homage to Zerina Akers, the mastermind behind some of Queen Bey’s most memorable looks. Within the past few weeks, Akers launched Black Owned Everything, which serves as a directory for Black-owned beauty and fashion brands. “That helped me to find and navigate a lot of brands that I personally wasn’t aware of,” Javar says. “I found so many great things that were quality brands. I wanted to make sure that I do that.”
But although Javar managed to pull large fashion labels along with custom moments, it was equally important for him to support smaller Black-owned labels. “I wanted to not just use the household names of designers. I wanted it to be a designer that maybe just now graduated from school, trying to figure it out, because it’s not the same for everybody,” he reveals. “I wanted to make sure that we’re using Black designers across the board that were at different levels. We control the narrative in the story that we’re telling, so let’s have fun with it.”
Check out our favorite style moments from host Amanda Seales at the 2020 BET Awards.