The Museum at FIT opens Black Fashion Designers exhibit

The Museum at FIT this week opened its "Black Fashion Designers" exhibit featuring the works of Public School, Duro Olowu and Grace Wales Bonner. The Ariele Elia organized exhibit will be on view through May 16, 2017.


Ann Lowe, wedding dress, 1968, and Lawrence Steele, dress, Spring 2002. - The Museum at FIT
 
Black Fashion Designers draws exclusively from the permanent collection of the Museum at FIT and features ensembles organized according to categories and themes including eveningwear, menswear, street style, experimental fashion and African influences.
 
The exhibit highlights the quiet history of black fashion designers. The museum noted that black fashion designers make up 1% of the designers covered by VogueRunway.com despite the current number of prominent black fashion designers including Olivier Rousteing of Balmain; Rachel Roy; Tracy Reese; Aurora James of the 2015 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winning brand Brother Vellies; Maxwell Osborne of Public School; Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss; former Givenchy Creative Director Ozwald Boateng; father and son design duo Joe and Charlie Casely-Hayford of Casely Hayford, and sisters Darlene and Lizzie Okpo of William Okpo, among others.

One section of the exhibit is devoted to designers that broke into the fashion industry during segregation including New York-based Zelda Wynn Valdes and Ann Lowe, while activism and political and social messages serve as the theme for a separate section, featuring ensembles by South African designer Nkhensani Nkosi of Stoned Cherrie. A short film on diversity accompanies the many looks on view and their corresponding sections. 

In addition, the Museum at FIT on February 6, 2017, the first Monday of Black History Month, will host a one-day symposium featuring talks by designers, models, journalists, and scholars on African diasporic culture and fashion including stylist June Ambrose, journalist and photographer Dario Calmese, designers Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs of Cushnie et Ochs, Dapper Dan, Grace Wales Bonner, former model and founder of The Diversity Coalition Bethann Hardison, Professors Monica Miller, Eric Darnell Pritchard, Elena Romero, and Victoria Rovine, costume designer Jeriana San Juan, and model Veronica Webb.
 
"Black Fashion Designers" will be on view through May 16, 2017.

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