Black Fashion Designers Step Into The Spotlight With New Exhibit

Photo: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images.
One of the country's top fashion schools is putting its focus on Black fashion designers with a new exhibit this December. The Museum at FIT (New York's Fashion Institute of Technology) has just given a sneak peek at Black Fashion Designers, which will open on December 6 and feature 75 designs by more than 60 designers.

"Although there have been exhibitions on individual Black designers, this is the first major exhibition in many years that highlights the global history of Black fashion designers from the 1950s to the present," states a description of the exhibit on the museum's website.

The exhibit includes everything from a 1968 wedding dress by Ann Lowe, who not-so-famously made Jacqueline Kennedy's wedding gown, to the Laura Smalls floral-print dress Michelle Obama wore for her appearance on Carpool Karaoke.

The exhibition will cover how Black designers broke in to the industry in the last century, as well as how the '60s and '70s became a heyday of Black influence in fashion.

"The fashion and mainstream press of the 1970s celebrated Black designers such as Burrows and Barrie, in contrast to today, when only 1% of the designers shown on VogueRunway.com are Black," the curators say on the FIT site.

Designs inspired by traditional African textiles and art will go on display, as will those that fall under the category of "Street Influence." There's also a section on Black models and a short film in which former Vogue editor André Leon Talley interviews designers Tracy Reese and Mimi Plange. The exhibit will run through May 16, 2017.
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Photo: Eileen Costa/The Museum at FIT.
A 1968 wedding dress by Ann Lowe, who designed Jacqueline Kennedy's wedding gown.
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A 1984 sportswear-inspired suit by Willi Smith.
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Photo: Eileen Costa/The Museum at FIT.
This dress by Patrick Kelly for fall/winter 1986 harkens back to his grandmother's affinity for buttons.
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Photo: Eileen Costa/The Museum at FIT.
An elegant dress for spring 2013 by Mimi Plange.
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Photo: Eileen Costa/The Museum at FIT.
This evening gown by Erik Gaskins from 2014 features beads that recreate the look of an expressive brushstroke.
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Photo: Eileen Costa/The Museum at FIT.
An elegant evening gown from 2002 by Lawrence Steele.
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Photo: Eileen Costa/The Museum at FIT.
British designer Duro Olowu is known for mixing prints and textiles, as in this fall 2012 cape.
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Photo: Eileen Costa/The Museum at FIT.
Andre Walker's 2016 design is featured in the exhibit's section on experimental fashion.
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