A Year In Review: 14 Of 2017's Biggest Black Fashion Moments

2017 was rough, y’all. Aside from all the havoc Trump’s administration wreaked on our bodies and beyond, it was the year that saw designers playing musical chairs at the biggest fashion brands, a mass exodus on New York Fashion’s calendar in favor of Paris, and the sad, sad state of print journalism (though, the price of highly-sought after magazines is on the up and up!). It was a year of instability, not only in the fashion industry but all across the world.

The upside to all of this, is that Black people, women, in particularly have continued to show up and out, making the best of their situations, providing inspiration to move the needle forward. They’re doing it for culture, if you will. While we’re still waiting to see that inspiration turn into representation in a real way, there were more than a few instances this year, that tickled me, a Black woman, to see. Making me say yes, sis, spread your Black girl magic for everyone to see. Because, without a doubt, like Issa Rae, I’m rooting for everybody Black.

Click ahead and let’s recap, shall we?

Beyoncé Broke The Internet Over And Over

This was the year that Beyoncé made it her brand for the world to “catch her fly, and her cocky fresh.” And she made it all happen on her Instagram account, where she proceeded to break the Internet not once, but twice. First, when she announced she was expecting twins, and then again when she presented them to the world.

The woman continues to prove she is a master of the reveal on Instagram, where she regularly holds court, becoming the queen of the triptych. By turning her account into a fashion blog of sorts, she’s letting her clothing do the talking — and we catch every word.
Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage.
Edward Enninful Named British Vogue Editor-In-Chief

In April, British Vogue announced that Edward Enninful, a Black openly-gay man, would succeed Alexandra Shulman once she stepped down from the magazine in August, ushering in a new, more inclusive era. And he came out of the gate strong, choosing Ghanaian-British model Adwoa Aboah for his first cover girl, thus cementing his commitment to make British Vogue more diverse and inclusive.

But the changes were not just about models, and he also overhauled the masthead, which now reads like who’s who of the fashion industry. Supermodels Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, and filmmaker Steve McQueen are now contributing editors, makeup extraordinaire Pat McGrath is their new beauty editor-at-large, and if that wasn't enough, the magazine will also be featuring the fantasy editorials of the grande dame herself, Grace Coddington.
Philip Rock/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.
Rihanna Shut Down The Met Gala In Comme des Garçons

Rihanna always is one of the last to arrive at Met Gala and we wait for her with baited breath but on this night, the night fashion fêted Rei Kawakubo's influence on the industry, Bad Gal Rih Rih did not disappoint (not that she ever does). I was more than shooketh when walked the red carpet in the opening look from Comme des Garçons' fall '16 collection.

And because Rihanna’s reign will not let up, in November, Vogue announced the theme for the 2018 Met Gala is “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” an exhibit “designed to create a dialogue between fashion and the masterworks for religious art in the museum’s holdings,” with the singer, along with Anna Wintour will be Donatella Versace, Amal Clooney, will co-host.
C Flanigan/Getty Images.
Teyana Taylor Channels Janet Jackson

Teyana Taylor ascended to the throne of iconic music videos in 2016, when she starred in Kanye West's "Fade." In 2017, the singer, dancer, and actress, cemented her status, when she attended the MTV Video Music Award's and accepted the award for Best Choreography for that same video, wearing a fitted, cropped white T-shirt and a pair of high-waisted, wide-leg black pants. Sounds simple, right?

As it turns out, her outfit was actually channeling another iconic look from music history, paying homage to Janet Jackson’s 1995 VMAs outfit, which, get this, Jackson wore when she won the same exact award for her performance in “Scream” alongside her late brother Michael Jackson.
Photo: Pietro D'Aprano/Getty Images.
Guccify Yourself

Back in May, Alessandro Michele presented Gucci’s cruise 2017 collection in Florence, Italy. One of the items in particular drew criticism: a mink jacket based on an iconic piece created by Dapper Dan (born Daniel Day), a Harlem-based fashion designer who created flashy clothing, leather items, and car interiors, usually with unauthorized designer logos in the ’80s and ’90s.

In September, Gucci announced it would team up with the designer to reopen his atelier in Harlem, by-appointment only, where “custom commissions will be created by some of the original tailors with raw materials supplied by the Italian fashion house." He’s also starring in an ad campaign for Gucci, which, follows the pre-fall 2017 campaign that explores masculinity and dandyism, and features an all Black cast.
Issa Rae’s HBO Show Insecure Champions Black Designers

I let out a huge sigh of relief when Insecure returned to the air, not just because Rae’s characters and friends resonate with me, but because costume designer Ayanna James uses the show to champion designers of color. Thanks to her we now know where to get the instantly classic n***as sweatshirt Rae wears, from New York-based label Omondi, a small, indie brand run by Recho Omondi.
Kheris Rogers Is The Youngest Person To Show During NYFW

In September, 11-year-old Kheris Rogers presented her Flexin’ In My Complexion clothing line at the Museum of the City of New York, the youngest person ever to do so. “I just made history as #NYFW youngest fashion designer ever!" she wrote on Twitter. "I am only 11 years old and made it while encouraging people to love their skin.”
Photo: Catwalking/Getty Images.
A Black Model Opened The Louis Vuitton Show, For The Time Ever

Paris Fashion Week ended with a historic finale when Nicolas Ghesquière presented his spring 2018 collection for Louis Vuitton with a Black woman leading the charge. It was the first time in the luxury brand's 163-year history that the show opened with an African American model, 21-year-old Janaye Furman.
Photo: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/Getty Images.
Cardi B As Fashion’s New Darling

If New York Fashion Week didn’t convince you that rapper Cardi B actually is goals, there was the time she arrived at Rihanna’s Diamond Ball dressed as Cinderella, or how about thanks to her song, “Bodak Yellow” searches for Christian Louboutin are up to up 217%?

Most recently, Steve Madden released a series of light-hearted videos with the rapper sharing tips for how to style her curated collection of shoes, so the entire outfit “pops.” Now we’re just waiting for a full-on Cardi B x Steve Madden collection in the future.
Photo: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/Getty Images.
Tracee Ellis Ross Wore All The Feathers At The Emmys

At this point, it isn’t a secret that Tracee Ellis Ross gets it from her mama. Which is not surprising when her mother is the legendary, iconic, and glamorous Diana Ross. At the 2017 Emmys in September, the Black-ish actress walked the red carpet in a silver dress from Chanel's spring 2017 couture collection, and she looked like every bit of Black girl magic in glitter, cornrows, and dangling earrings.

And when she isn’t subtly channeling her mother, she’s full-on wearing her pieces (found in her garage), like when she hosted the 2017 American Music Awards wearing a glitter blouse Diana wore when she performed with the King of Pop Michael Jackson during a TV special called Diana in 1981. Oh, and her clothing collection for JCPenney sold out in record time. Black girl magic, indeed.
Solange Knowles Asks Her Friends To Wear #MyCalvins

Solange Knowles cast her friends in Calvin Klein's new #MyCalvins campaign. Alongside R&B singer Kelela, previous collaborator and "Blood Orange" singer Dev Hynes, plus Caroline Polachek and Kindness (a.k.a. Adam Bainbridge), Solange personally curated the campaign, once again proving her polymath skills and demonstrating her artistic vision beyond her own music. But a quick scroll through her Instagram proves that her visuals are always, always on point.
Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images/Victoria's Secret.
Lais Ribeiro Wore Fantasy Bra During The VS Fashion Show

The Victoria's Secret Angels took to the world’s most watched runway in Shanghai to strut their stuff for millions in November, clad in feathers, rhinestones, a little bit of cultural appropriation, and — oh yeah, the Fantasy Bra. This year, the lucky girl who had the honors was Brazilian model Lais Ribeiro. The Angel has walked the show six times before, but this year’s event was her first to rep the most expensive bra in the world.
Photo: Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images.
Colin Kaepernick Only Wanted To Wear Black Designers In His GQ ‘Man Of The Year’ Shoot

Colin Kaepernick declined to be interviewed for his GQ Man Of The Year cover story, choosing instead to remain silent and speak through his clothing. At the time, the athelete’s stylist Rachel Johnson told Refinery29, “He wanted to wear designers of color and/or designers who were women.” The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s reasoning? “He wanted to give an opportunity for designers to be featured in the magazine who wouldn’t normally be, especially for a cover shoot of this magnitude.”
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