Fashionistas are waiting with bated breath for New York Fashion Week to officially kick off this Thursday, and diversity enthusiasts are happy to see that this season’s lineup features more Black designers.
“The official calendar is almost 30% representation of people of color and over 20% Black designers,” the Council of Fashion Designers of America president CaSandra Diggs told Andscape. “It’s really important that we recognize this development because it’s a lot of the work that the CFDA is doing.”
Seasoned and rising stars in the fashion industry, including Telfar, LaQuan Smith, Prabal Gurung and Jason Wu will showcase their new collections in addition to newcomers AnOnlyChild, Maxwell Osbourne, Fe Noel, Black Boy Knits, Theophilio and Tia Adeola.
The diverse lineup comes at a time when the fashion industry has finally begun to embrace designers of different backgrounds. It was only four years ago when Vogue hired a Black photographer to shoot its high-status September issue. Tyler Mitchell, who was 23 at the time, shot Beyoncé for the cover – a first in the prestigious magazine’s 126-year history.
“I feel so blessed to be on the calendar,” Jacques Agobobly, the lead designer of Black Boy Knits told Andscape about featuring his line at NYFW. “I am excited at the opportunity to be sitting next to some of the other great Black designers that I’ve admired my entire career. To have the support and opportunity to do so at this point in my career is monumental.”
For Diggs, she recognizes the hard work that goes behind producing a fashion show at NYFW, and she says she is proud of the work the designers have undertaken to get to this point. “I know how hard it is to be part of Fashion Week,” she said. “I know it’s a very costly endeavor. To watch the creativity of how those brands present and even the digital releases that are on Runway360…I get really excited about that. Everyone is doing the best they can to be creative, thoughtful, and really do it in a way that’s economically advantageous for them and responsible to the environment.”