In The World Of African American Fashion; Meet Designer Stephen Burrows…

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Meet Designer Stephen Burrows

"I make colorful adult toys because I think fashion should have a sense of humor, and I want people to be happy in my clothes,"

“I make colorful adult toys because I think fashion should have a sense of humor, and I want people to be happy in my clothes,”

Stephen Burrows was born on September 15, 1943 in Newark, New Jersey. He learned how to sew at a young age when he started making clothes with his grandmother. Realizing that fashion was something he wanted to do, he attended the Philadelphia Museum College of Art but later he went to New York City to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

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After graduating from FIT in 1966, he began making clothes for the O boutique that he’d cofounded along with a friend. The store’s window display caught the attention of  people that would pass by, which caused an increase in sales. He had orders coming in left and right. Stephen along with a friend launched a ready-to-wear line for Bonwit Teller in 1969. Later that year he was hired to work for Henri Bendel after being introduced to Bendel’s legendary fashion director Geraldine Stutz. While there he designed clothing that made him “the quintessential fashion expression of the 1970s.”
Stephen eventually left Henri Bendel and opened his namesake business, quickly licensing products such as fragrances, sunglasses and furs.
With all his success, Stephen was recognized with Coty Awards in 1973, 1974, and again in 1977.

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During the 1980s Stephen took a break from the fashion scene, only to return in the 1990s. He made his comeback with a line of dresses that were both comfortable and sensual. In 1993 he returned to Henri Bendel to design evening wear. Stephen was one designer that when he left the spotlight he was missed.

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His signature palette of vibrant colors and approach to cut and modern silhouettes brought him world recognition as the first African-American designer. His designs defined American fashion in the 70’s. He is truly an Iconic Designer.

For more information on this designer visit Stephen Burrows

Urban Solstice: Modern, Minimalist Jewelry…

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Urban Solstice

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Urban Solstice is a Metro Detroit based company offering handmade jewelry. Designer Katelyn Davis creates custom made to order modern, minimalist pieces that are made made from quality goods. Urban Solstice uses only the finest products including precious metals like sterling silver and genuine semi-precious stones that have been mined from around the world. She creates jewelry that will fit within anyones budget.

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Raw Amber Luster Stone Necklace

Want to know more about Urban Solstice and the designer, check out below what Katelyn had to say:

What exactly is Urban Solstice?
The biggest contributing factor to the beginning of all of this was this very harsh winter. I had been spending a lot of time indoors since it’s been terribly cold and the daylight hours are short. Then came the shortest day of the year, Winter Solstice. I liked the sound of that. But the lack of daylight and cold associated with it is kind of depressing so I considered Summer Solstice. But that didn’t seem to capture what I was going for. I started thinking about what else inspired me–urban minimalism. And the rest is history!

How long have you been designing?
I have been designing jewelry for myself, off and on, for about a year. I had never really thought much about starting a business around it since I already have a career in public relations. Then in December I started designing more as a way to combat cabin fever (Michigan’s winter has been brutal this year) and in January I opened up shop. Being in the jewelry business is no stranger to me, I worked through college for my uncle who is a traditional jeweler handling his sales, customer service, and inventory. I guess you can say jewelry has always been a love of mine.

Crackle Quartz Nugget Bracelet in 14k Gold

Crackle Quartz Nugget Bracelet in 14k Gold

What is or where do you find inspiration?
I find my inspiration in the stones themselves. Having previously worked with my uncle who is a jeweler I’ve spent a great deal of time around beautifully cut gemstones and other precious stones, but there is something to be said about uncut, imperfect, rough and raw stones. They are so naturally beautiful even with their imperfections so I try my hardest to find the best way to showcase each stones’ unique qualities. I am also inspired my minimalism and geometric shapes which I think you will see a lot in my work.

What sets your jewelry apart from everyone else’s?
One word: Quality. I try my hardest to source the best quality stones and metals to ensure I am providing my customers the best possible product at the best price.

Pyrite Cube Necklace

Pyrite Cube Necklace

Shop Urban Solstice and save 15% by using code “FASHIONSTYLEDETROIT” at checkout.

Become a member of the Urban Solstice team for full access to member only discounts and the birthday club by signing up here

Don’t forget to connect with Urban Solstice on facebook and instagram

In The World Of African American Fashion; Meet Designer Patrick Kelly…

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Meet Designer Patrick Kelly

Patrick Kelly

” I want my clothes to make you smile.”

Patrick Kelly was born on September 24, 1954 in Vicksburg, Mississippi. His interest in fashion came at a young age, Patrick’s earliest recollection of his love for fashion was when he was about six years old. One day after his grandmother brought home a fashion magazine, he noticed that there were no pictures of African American women in it. His grandmother explained that designers did not have time for African American women and he was determined to change this.

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Teaching himself to sew, he began his career as a designer at an early age. While in junior high Patrick began to design and sew party dresses for the girls in his neighborhood. By the time he got to high, school he began designing department store windows and drawing sketches for newspaper advertisements. After graduating from high school in 1972 Patrick attended Jackson State University on a scholarship and studied art history and African American history. Sophomore year he decided to leave Mississippi to escape the oppressive racial tensions, to pursue a serious career in fashion.

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He moved to Atlanta and got a job sorting clothing for AMVETS, an American veterans organization. As a way of working his way into the fashion industry, he volunteered to decorate windows for an Yves Saint Laurent boutique called Rive Gauche. These experiences helped him build his fashion career. While working at AMVETS, Patrick had access to a large collection of clothes, some of which carried designer labels. He would redesign the old clothes and sell them on the streets along with some of his original creations. This job provided him with a steady paycheck along with gaining exposure in the fashion industry. 

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Patrick decided to move to New York City after his friend told him that if he wanted to really get noticed by the fashion industry, NY is where he should be. While in NY, he enrolled at the Parsons School of Design.

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Struggling financially, he wasn’t able to find a steady job so he supported himself with occasional work here and there. After receiving a one-way ticket to Paris that was mailed to him anonymously, he used that opportunity and moved to Paris, the fashion capital. Things were going better for Patrick in Paris. He was hired to work as a costume designer for a nightclub called Le Palace. He sold his own creations on the street and even sold homemade dinners to bring in extra income.

Patrick Kelly, Iman, Grace Jones and Naomi Campbell

Patrick Kelly, Iman, Grace Jones and Naomi Campbell

With all of Patricks hard work and dedication, it was finally paying off for him. People were starting to recognize him and his talents. In 1984 Victoire, a boutique in Paris had provided him with a workshop and showroom. Soon after the Patrick Kelly brand was launched. His style reflected his personality, he was described as fun-loving and outgoing. He used bright colors, that were often embellished with ribbons and colorful buttons, which became his trademark. 

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Patrick was often always seen wearing a pair of oversized overalls. He acknowledged every stereotype attached to Southern blacks. He made fried chicken for his friends and used the phrase honey chile while talking to others. He poked fun at racial stereotypes and incorporated that into his designs. He was known for carrying black baby doll pins which became a trademark for him and he gave them away to everyone he met.

He passed these out to everyone he met.

He passed these out to everyone he met.

He’s clothes have been worn by some well known celebrities such as Bette Davis, Cicely Tyson, Grace Jones among others. 

Check out Patrick Kelly’s Paris 1988 collection below:

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In 1990, Patrick Kelly died at the age 35 on New Year’s Day.

Source: Geoclan

In The World Of African American Fashion; Meet Designer Marc Hare…

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Meet Designer Marc Hare

Marc Hare

“When I got older, I didn’t want to wear old man’s shoes or turn into an old man in kids’ shoes.”

Marc Hare was born in July 1970 in Croydon, South London. He attended London’s College of Fashion where he majored in Business studies and after graduating he worked in Public Relations. Over the next twenty years he worked as a design and marketing consultant for some of the world’s top leading fashion labels before starting up his own brand in 2009.

Mhare1234He decided to launch his own brand after the realization that there were not enough shoes that he liked. In 2008 after losing his job, he went on a “tapas road trip” through Spain. While at a roadside tapas bar in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, he looked at an older gentleman’s shoes and decided that, with a few tweaks, they could be much better.

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Marc opened his first store in Mayfair on September 2012.

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For more information on this designer, visit Marc Hare

In The World Of African American Fashion; Meet Designer Patrick Robinson…

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Meet Designer Patrick Robinson

Patrick Robinson

“I’ve done a lot at a young age, but I pushed myself hard, and I gave up a lot of my personal life for my work.”

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Patrick Robinson was born on September 8, 1966, in Memphis, Tennessee. He grew up in Orange County, Los Angeles. While in high school he worked part-time at Nordstroms at the Cerritos mall. Patrick’s first attempt in fashion was when he created his own small line of beach wear, inspired by his love for the surfing lifestyle. His love for fashion stemmed from a movie he saw that featured American designers Calvin Klein and Jeffrey Banks. After graduating from High School, he attended the Parsons New School of Design in New York City, where he graduated in 1989. He also studied at the American College in Paris. While studying in Paris, Patrick apprenticed under up and coming fashion Patrick Kelly.

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Soon after Patrick was hired by Italian designer Giorgio Armani to design for his bridge line, Le Collezioni. After agreeing to start the next day, he flew to Italy for the job and he completed an entire season’s worth of clothes just ten days after arriving.

When he arrived back in New York, he became head designer at Anne Klein, where he designed three collections. Patrick soon found himself unemployed when his third collection for Anne Klein was not even shipped to stores when Japanese executives decided to close the Anne Klein Collection (Anne Klein II).

He traveled through Asia for several weeks and upon his return, he hired a staff and set up a design house in his New York City loft, and began courting backers. He finally created a line of clothing bearing his own name, it was launched for the fall/winter season of 1997.

In 2007 he took on the role of head designer for GAP, he was responsible for much of the brand’s revamped jeans line. In 2011 he was left go after sales continued to drop.
After that Patrick officially returned to work as the creative director for A/X Armani exchange.

 Source: answers.com

 

In The World Of African American Fashion; Meet Designer Carly Cushnie…

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Meet Designer Carly Cushnie…

Carly Cushnie

Carly Cushnie knew that fashion was something she wanted to do, after high school she took classes at the Parsons outpost in Paris. She then moved to New York to enroll full-time at Parsons The New School for Design. While in her junior year, she met Michelle Ochs and the two quickly become close friends. While in school Carly interned at Oscar de la Renta working on ready-to-wear clothing. She was runner up for student designer of the year at Parsons, her friend Michelle came in first place.
Their senior collections was illustrated through wool pieces by Carly and a sheared-mink coat and cashmere pants by Michelle which was featured in a WWD cover story on the competition’s finalists.

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(L) Michelle Ochs and (R) Carly Cushnie

With all the fashion experience they racked up from interning, Carly and Michelle decided to join forces in 2009 and create their own brand: Cushnie et Ochs, it embodies a unique sensibility that seamlessly combines a bold sensuality with a raw feminine attitude that is confidently understated and luxuriously modern. Together they debuted their Spring 2009 collection, which was inspired by the film American Psycho, with a female version of Patrick Bateman in mind.

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The designers have a clear understanding of the female body. Their collection speaks to the modern woman who own her own individuality.

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Their clothes have been worn by many famous names, including Michelle Obama, Salma Hayek, Reese Witherspoon among others. Their collection is currently being sold in more than 60 stores worldwide.

Michelle Obama wears a custom-made silk-crepe Cushnie et Ochs

Michelle Obama wears a custom-made silk-crepe Cushnie et Ochs

For more information on the Designers, pleas visit: cushineetochs

In The World Of African American Fashion; Meet Designer Jeffrey Banks…

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Meet Designer Jeffrey Banks

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Jeffrey Banks was born on November 3, 1955 in Washington D.C. He knew from an early age that he was going to be a fashion designer. “I was only 10 years old when I designed an Easter suit for my mother,” he told Black Enterprise. “The dress was raw silk and it had a banana-colored, wool jersey coat that buttoned to one side. I picked out the fabric, went to the dressmaker with my mother and even picked out the accessories. She loved it and wore it with lots of pride.” Jeffrey attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY before attending Parsons School of Design in New York, NY.  While in school he worked as a Part-time assistant to Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. After graduating from Parsons in 1977 he went on to further pursue his career in fashion.

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Jeffrey quickly moved up the ranks from a job as a clerk at an elegant haberdashery in Washington, D.C. where he worked for three years as a designer for Nik-Nik Clothing & Sportswear during the late 70s. In 1977 he won a special Coty Award for a men’s fur collection that he designed for Alixandre. At the age of 23, he was the youngest person ever to win this award.

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In 1978 Jeffrey decided it was time to take his career to the next level and start his own his own design firm, with himself as president and chief designer. He continued building his reputation as a designer of furs for both men and boys. According to Andre Leon-Talley in Ebony, by 1980 Banks was creating furs for males “so smart and tailored that some women want to wear them.” During this time he was also designing outerwear for L’Aiglon, and men’s clothes for Glanzrock. Known for his ability to merge practical comfort,whimsy, and casual sophistication, Jeffrey made his reputation in the fashion industry by putting a modern twist on classical elegance.

Jeffrey currently has two companies, Jeffrey Banks Ltd. and Jeffrey Banks International, amassed $20 million through licensing deals and international sales.


Source: answers.com

In The World Of African American Fashion; Meet Designer Martine Rose…

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Meet Designer Martine Rose

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“I was thinking about men throughout history who have broken the conventional gender rules of clothing, men with an overt sexual energy who used feminine looks to underline their masculinity.”

Martine Rose is a London-based designer who originally started her career by designing unisex T-shirts with her friend Tamara under the label LMNOP. They showcased their debut collection of 10 shirts at Blacks, private members club in Soho 2007. LMNOP was doing well and had a huge following, but Martine decided to go solo and start her own brand. Her main focus was on shirts and gradually she started to branch out into other  aspects of menswear.

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Partnering with ASOS, Martine launched her first ever womenswear collection. Her ASOS exclusive collection features trendy sportswear pieces which are made up of 90s graphic prints.  

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She’s also collaborated with the likes of Wallpaper Magazine, Ligne Roset,Timberland, CAT and Icon Brand.

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In The World Of African American Fashion; Meet Samantha Black…

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Meet Designer Samantha Black

Samantha Black

Samantha Black attended Pratt Institute in New York, while also interning for Jill Stuart and Michael Kors. She she graduated in 2005 with a BFA in Fashion Design. After graduation Samantha moved to London where she worked personally with one fashions legendary designers the late Alexander McQueen.

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After returning to the states, she became the head designer for the entire women’s denim line at Jimmyz, which is owned by Aeropostale.

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Samantha was one of the selected designers on season 9 of Project Runway.

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With her experience in fashion, Samantha decided it was time to launch her own line. By combining her own personal style and flavor, Sammy B was born. 

Her goal is to compliment those who are chic and fashion forward, all while enhancing style with that extra pop. With a wide range of looks and separates she hopes to appeal to the masses, but mainly females like her self. Tomboys in pumps!

For more information on this designer, please visit SammyBDesigns

In The World Of African American Fashion; Meet Designer Dapper Dan…

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Meet Designer Dapper Dan

Dapper DanBefore there was Karl Kani, Fubu, Rocawear or any other urban wear designer, there was Dapper Dan. He was the first to bring high end designer fashion and mix it with 80’s street culture. He sold custom made clothing to some of hip hops biggest influenters for thousands of dollars, even though they were counterfeit. He used fake fabrics from Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Gucci that were imported straight from Korea, and incorporated them into his designs. His custom work could be purchased from his Harlem boutique on 125th street during the 1980s. He catered to Street Kings and rappers like Run DMC, Mike Tyson, Salt and Pepa, LL Cool J, Alpo, Rich Porter, Big Daddy Kane and Biz Markie among others. “My customers were all gangsters, the rappers wanted to be like the gangsters. They would wait for the gangsters to leave the store then come in and ask what did the gangsters buy.” Dan’s boutique would stay open 24 hours over a span of 8 years.

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Dapper Dan boutique’s storefront in Harlem.

In 1988, boxers Mike Tyson and Mitch Green crossed paths while one was entering and one was leaving Dan’s boutique, both were clients of his. Their encounter turned into a scuffle, bringing unwanted publicity to the Boutique.  The brands that refused to sell Dan their products, which included Fendi, Louis Vuitton and Gucci sued him.

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Dapper Dan with LL Cool J, circa 1987.

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Jam Master Jay, of Run-D.M.C., circa 1986, on the set of “Tougher Than Leather.”

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Olympic gold and silver medalist, Diane Dixon.

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Salt-N-Pepa at a photo shoot for their label, Next Plateau, in 1988.

Dan used designer logos to create looks for people that otherwise would have never been available. With his style and original creations Dapper Dan has been dubbed “Hip Hop’s Fashion godfather” who “planted the planted the seed for fashion” in the music genre. His creations can be seen on the covers of hip hop albums from the 80’s. Dan’s designs have made a big impact in Hip Hop over the years, he’s has helped pave the way for urban designers after him.

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Drug dealer Alberto (Alpo) Martinez in 1988.

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Bobby Brown in a custom Gucci outfit that I made for him in 1988, right before he went on his first world tour as a solo artist to promote his album, “Don’t Be Cruel”.

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For more information on Dapper Dan check out his Blog 
Sources: Messynessychic/Complex/NewYorker