Article by Queen Ahneva Ahneva
As the world becomes smaller and the Internet grows even bigger we find ourselves suddenly in a global marketplace. Where cultures collide and the global stage is now the new international playground.
African and African Diasporas are becoming real players in this Global Clash of Cultures, taking the lead in the mainstream of Fashion and Design. African designers have spent decades trying to break the glass ceiling in these Industries. Many have made it through and received all the kudos and accolades that accompany such success. Patrick Kelly, was inducted to the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode, and most recently, Tracy Reese, Michelle Obama’s designer, was made a board member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, just to name a few success stories!
Although we still have to deal with being marginalized, black designers are breaking into the major leagues. Recently there have been some strong signs that things are a changin’.
When creativity and talent meet up with the right business opportunity what happens is magical. Such is the case for Virgil Abloh from Ghana. We came to know him as Kanye West’s Creative Director. He has since broken the proverbial glass ceiling being named the new Artistic Director of Menswear for the luxury brand Louis Vuitton (https://us.louisvuitton.com/eng-us/la-maison/virgil-abloh#). Also, taking advantage of the ever flowing talent of Africa is Ikea (www.ikea.com).
The company has also caught on to the “Black Magic” having recently assembled an all-star lineup of African designers to create the first of its kind historic collection for the brand (www.cnn.com/style/article/ikea-africa-design/index.html).
As cultures emerge through the design industry we are seeing more diverse collaborations of the cultures each blending into another, creating incredible fashion stories for a global audience. With the fast moving pace of social media, the International arena now takes the edge off of being a new kid on the block.
With the Ecommerce platforms available through the Online markets designers have a new opportunity to even the outreach playing field. Black companies are cashing in by providing selling platforms like The Buy Black Movement that are helping to drive sales, creating a new revenue stream and pushing the bottom line.
Over all Blacks are gaining ground and it won't be long before several of the major design houses start cashing in on these untapped resources of Black Fashion Design.