2017 | Black Fashion Designers Exhibition


Stephen Burrows, two-piece evening dress, 1973, USA, Gift of Mrs. Savanna Clark, 99.15.1

From The Museum at FIT

Fashion & Textile History Gallery
December 6 – May 16, 2017

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There have been past exhibitions about individual black fashion designers, such as Stephen Burrows and Patrick Kelly, but this exhibition explores the experiences of several generations of fashion designers of African descent from the 1950s to the present. The curators acknowledge the problem of using race as a lens through which to view fashion design. Fashion journalist Robin Givhan addressed the implications of such categorization when she described the Pyer Moss spring 2016 collection by designer Kerby Jean-Raymond: “It was a startling and emotional reflection of Jean-Raymond’s fatigue over being described as a ‘black’ designer. Not because he isn’t proud of his heritage and not because he doesn’t bring his full self to his work, but because the nomenclature is limiting

The designers featured in Black Fashion Designers work in a diverse range of individual styles; they do not all speak in one voice. The exhibition draws exclusively from the permanent collection of The Museum at FIT and is organized according to categories and themes, such as eveningwear, menswear, street style, experimental fashion, and African influences.

Black Fashion Designers Symposium and Educational Initiatives
The Museum at FIT will host a one-day symposium on February 6, 2017, featuring talks by designers, models, journalists, and scholars on African diasporic culture and fashion. A provisional list of speakers for the symposium and Spring 2017 Fashion Culture program series includes writer Teri Agins, stylist June Ambrose, journalist and photographer Dario Calmese, Professor Alphonso McClendon, designers Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs of Cushnie et Ochs, Dapper Dan of Harlem, designer Grace Wales Bonner, former model and founder of The Diversity Coalition Bethann Hardison, Professor Monica Miller, designer Mimi Plange, Professor Eric Darnell Pritchard, Professor Elena Romero, Professor Victoria Rovine, costume designer Jeriana San Juan, and model Veronica Webb.

Learn more about exhibit details

View Exhibition Trailer:

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