During the fourth week of Black History Month, the Einstein School recognizes some of the many African American Fashion Designers who have made significant contributions to the world of fashion. These creative geniuses’ works have redefined fashion in unique ways. Though the list is long, we highlight icons like Anne Lowe, Stephen Burrows, and Patrick Kelly.
African American fashion designer Ann Lowe had a huge impact on the 20th-century fashion industry. Lowe launched her own fashion house in New York on Madison Avenue. She immediately established a reputation for creating dresses that were lavish and refined, and society’s elite were in great demand for her creations. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis wore one of her creations when she married President John F. Kennedy. Lowe’s work is exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A celebrated African American fashion designer who came to fame in France, Mississippi-born Patrick Kelly was the first American to be accepted into the prestigious Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode. Kelly’s designs are recognized for being extremely exuberant, humorous and for referencing pop culture and Black traditions.
New York City-based designer Stephen Burrows received his degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology and later began to work in New York City’s Garment Center while managing his own businesses and working closely with luxury department store Henri Bendel. As the first African American designer to sell internationally and grow a conventional, high-fashion audience, Burrows’ bright colored, disco garments from the 1970s New York dancing scene gave him a legacy that lives on today.
The fashion icons continue to influence global fashion and raise awareness about opportunities in the industry.