2022 is a wrap! We made it to 2023, and fashion’s brightest are ready to show that they are here to stay and here to thrive. Black designers and brands have been on the come up lately, but it must be known that these moments are not just 15 minutes of fame; these designers deserve all the accolades. For some time, fashion has been in an odd place, maybe due to being so exclusive and turning a 180 to being the most inclusive it’s ever been (so it seems). While we can question the motives of the industry, we should also celebrate, support, and bring to light brands that are really shifting the cultural zeitgeist of fashion.
Each of these brands has a meaningful ethos that drives conversation and records culturally edifying moments that will surely be referenced in the future. These “Young, Gifted, and Black” individuals may not know that what they are doing is changing the way that fashion is consumed — everything must have a relevant message, and they deliver. From conceptual and ground-breaking ideation, these innovative minds are giving us fashion again.
Read on to see what’s in store for 2023.
The Brooklyn-based contemporary clothing brand founded by Edvin Thompson has been a fan-favorite and is only expanding more. The brand’s Jamaican heritage-infused designs pay homage to the island’s love of dressing up and the luxury that demands to be seen. This year’s releases will most likely sell out, and we’re waiting to see what Thompson brings for the upcoming fashion weeks.
Koat is a Black-owned outerwear brand founded by Kelechi Mpamaugo. Conceived to combat the conformist effects of social media by creating fashion that allows people to navigate their lives unapologetically as “main characters” in their own stories, her SS23 premier collection highlights the tech and digital world by re-positioning the internet as a metaphor for life.
Head of State:
Founded by Taofeek Abijako in 2016, the Nigerian brand aims to provoke and open up conversations about marginalized communities. Abijako’s “Homecoming” show at New York Fashion Week sparked what we all felt was missing in fashion. Since then, he’s gone on to being sold in SSENSE and Nordstrom and has dressed two actors for The Met Gala.
The Brooklyn-based brand was co-founded by Herzen Clerge and Ianko Joseph. FSR has an ethos rooted in Haitian spirit by way of West Africa mortalized through the language of New York. The brand’s anatomical designs show how their ideations are ingrained in Black spirituality and Afro-Caribbean traditions.
The LA-based brand fuses the past and the present in its work and is all about inclusive concepts. Designer James Flemons is the owner of an extensive archive of a plethora of items, from comic books to designer clothing to music. He uses each of these things to conceptualize unique yet timeless pieces like his well-known backless tops.
Intellectual Athleticism (iA), founded by Julio Colon III, is about the exertion of the mind paralleled with the exertion of the body. Provoking thought through conceptual genderless designs is the ethos of the New York-based brand.
The brand No Sesso translates from Italian to “no sex/ no gender.” The design duo Pia Davis and Autumn Pandolph are all about doing whatever the hell they want, whether through design or other creative endeavors, and their designs convey that exact sentiment. No Sesso’s last show was darker and sexy, and full of skin; we’re excited to see what 2023 has in store for the duo.
Black Boy Knits:
The CFDA DHL Logistics Award winner and CFDA Fashion Fund finalist, Black Boy Knits, centers on the designer’s background. Jacques Agbobly is queer, and an immigrant and is proud to share their story through knitwear. There’s a beauty in the throughline of knitting being the main design process, as the name “Black Boy Knit” is about the softness and joy that young Black folx aren’t always granted.
Boston-born and New York-based Tyrone Smith created Musty Corp through the need to make fashion just about clothing. The construction of Smith’s clothing is nothing short of Avante-Garde, and his unorthodox approach to cut and sew make for incredible and surprisingly cohesive collections. 2022 was Smith’s first time