Sammy B came to life after Samantha Black graduated from Pratt Institute in 2005, where she majored in Fashion Design while interning at Jill Stuart, Michael Kors and even in London at the late Alexander McQueen’s design studio. She channels all of this experience into her line, and throws in her individual style and personality — and you have Sammy B!We talked to Samantha Black to find out how the journey has been for a young, Black designer.
SAMANTHA BLACK: Some of the struggles I have encountered are trying to build a line with no funds. Not having backing or financial support makes things very hard, adding obstacles that can be unnecessary.
ESSENCE.com: Do you find yourself fighting against being labeled an ‘urban’ brand?
SB: YES! Because I am a Black designer they assume I have an urban line, when it’s not the case at all.
ESSENCE.com: Do you feel like that old ‘Black tax’ is something you’ve noticed in the fashion industry?
SB: Yes very much so, I fee as though if I did a gold sequin piece exactly the same as a non-Black designer… mine would be considered urban and the other designer luxurious. So it can be hard.
SB: My biggest tribulation has been setting myself apart from the many many designers on the come up. There are a lot of talented people out here.
SB: I have learned to do so so much with very little. I don’t get disappointed easy, and when I am, I’m better at picking myself up and moving forward. All in all, with all the ups and downs, I’m very excited to be doing what I’m doing, and as I progress fast or slow, the progression keeps me going.