An exhibition currently on view in New York City’s Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, explores the work and experiences of several generations of fashion designers of African descent from the 1950s to the present. Both historical and current in its scope, Black Fashion Designers features 75 ensembles by 60 designers, highlighting a range of individual styles.
The exhibition draws exclusively from the permanent collection of The Museum at FIT and is divided into nine themes: Breaking into the Industry, The Rise of the Black Fashion Designer, Eveningwear, Street Influence, Activism, Menswear, Black Models, African Influence, and Experimentation.
The organizers, Ariele Elia, assistant curator of Costume and Textiles, and Elizabeth Way, curatorial assistant, say that they hope the exhibition will “broaden fashion history by acknowledging the influence of black designers, and also inspire interest and scholarship on the impact of black designers, past and present.”
On view in the show is a wedding gown by Ann Lowe that utilizes traditional techniques, a Madison Maxey print generated from a computer code, a Mimi Plange pink dress with trapunto quilting, and a red and black shirtdress ensemble from Hood By Air that pushes boundaries of construction.
The Museum at FIT will host a one-day symposium on February 6, 2017, featuring talks by designers, models, journalists, and scholars on African diasporic culture and fashion.