The slow ascent of hip-hop and Black designers in the world of high fashion

Nearly three decades before the scintillating Black French designer Olivier Rousteing moved on from his position as creative director of Roberto Cavalli to become creative director of Balmain in 2009, African-American designers began their slow ascent toward inclusion into the upper echelon of the high fashion world.

In the early 1980s, hip-hop culture was becoming an established lifestyle in American Black communities, creating a world of music, dance, language and fashion. Legend has it that an independent designer named Dapper Dan introduced the hip-hop world to high fashion in 1982. Because he was not able to access the fabrics and furs he envisioned for a wholesale fashion store, Dapper Dan taught himself to create his own textiles and designs. The designs that attracted the…

Read More

  • 1