Black Fashion History : Andre Leon Talley

Former American Vogue editor Andre Talley has been a staple in the fashion industry for over 25 years, ranking as human landmark on all things CHIC. Born in Durham, North Carolina he was raised in a humble environment but understood the importance of luxury. while receiving a masters degree in French from Brown University, he…

Black Fashion History: Scott Barrie

Scott Barrie, an American designer known for sexy matte jersey dresses in the 1960’s and 70’s, died on Tuesday at the Alessandria Hospital in Alessandria, Italy, outside Milan at 52. Being a designer was his goal from childhood, and at the age of 10 he was whipping up clothes on his grandmother’s sewing machine. He studied…

Black Fashion History: Stephen Burrows

Friends with Warhol, dressing Cher, partying at Studio 54: Stephen Burrows born in Newark, New Jersey on May 15, 1943; is an American fashion designer based in New York City and was the designer for the drug-laced disco days—and one of the first African-American names in the industry. Known for his signature “lettuce hems” and sexy, flowing chiffons, Burrows notably…

Black Fashion History: Meet Willi Smith

Smith was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and studied commercial art at Mastbaum Technical High School and attended Philadelphia College of Art for fashion illustration. He then moved to New York to go to Parsons The New School for Design, the highly competitive art and design college of The New School university. For a short time Smith freelanced with Arnold Scaasi and Bobbie Brooks’s sportswear company. In 1967, Smith quit…

Black Fashion History: Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes

Zelda Wynn Valdes,  fashion and costume designer  was revered for her design talent and best known for her skill in highlighting the female body. She got her start in fashion creating outfits for her dolls as a child in Chambersburg, Pa., and began cutting out patterns from newspaper. She studied her grandmother’s work as a seamstress…

Fashion School: Elizabeth Keckley

Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley February 1818 – May 1907 was a former slave who became a successful seamstress, civic activist and author in Washington, DC. She was best known as the personal modiste and confidante of Mary Todd Lincoln, the First Lady. Keckley had moved to Washington in 1860 after buying her freedom and that of her son in St. Louis. She created an independent business in the capital…