Despite COVID-19, many young Black designers are thriving.
By Taya Coates | Contributing Writer
On March 7th, Lyons enthusiastically tweeted, “I HAVE A STORE ON MELROSE AVE IN LOS ANGELES!!!!!!!… I can’t believe I did it. Unreal. Thank you, EVERYONE, for your support and business!!!” Fast forward to September 4th, at only 20 years old, Lyons opened a storefront one of the most recognizable streets in California. The rose gold storefront stands out on Melrose Avenue for more reasons than one. The self-titled business is the first luxury durag store ever to be on the iconic street. At the location, Lyons’ signature durags in velvet and silk are available alongside satin-lined beanies, scarves, and turbans.
New Orleans based brand WRLDINVSN began when founders and best friends Watts and Clark were fourteen years old. The two started selling T-shirts to friends in the eighth grade as an alternative to their candy selling business. They promoted their positive brand through their exposure to many students at different schools through sports. They continued this strategy at Louisiana Tech, where Watts promoted WRLDINVSN on the football team while Clark worked on his graphic design skills. Despite losing all of their merchandise and the laptop with all of their designs in a robbery in 2016, the two decided to continue the business. Fast forward to today, the brand has racked up 289,000 followers on Instagram and has been seen on many social media stars and singers.
Fisayo Longe has spent the last couple of years building her following through fashion and travel blogging on Instagram. In 2016, she expanded on her blog work to create Kai Collective, an ethical clothing line based in the UK. The brand focuses on producing luxury goods that flatter women of all body types. The company aesthetic is bold color choices and exciting silhouettes, like the popular Gaia dress pictured above. After emerging in the spotlight and getting the attention of Elle Magazine, Longe has seen much success with her brand on social media.
Random + Chic was founded by stylist and blogger Shayla Janel Hill. Her niche shop sells unique thrifted vintage pieces. According to their website, “Random&Chic was created specifically for the Girls who dare to stand out on purpose and stand up with purpose.” Her tagline, #SlayforAchange, inspires women to promote social causes with their clothing choices. The website posts new listings every Sunday, so customers always have an equal opportunity to purchase one of a kind goods. She is also the author of an e-book, ‘The Art of Resale’, a guide on turning casual thrift shopping into a full resale business.
Samaria Leah Smith is a sustainable denim designer and daughter of rapper LL Cool J. But, she is not the average celebrity daughter. Smith earned two degrees from one of the most prestigious fashion schools in the country, FIT. After school, she began to redesign vintage T-shirts and denim she found at shops all over the country for fun. Her bold style led to many “Where did you get that from?” inquiries and compliments to the point Smith wanted to establish her brand. Each pair of jeans on her site is hand-reworked and made in Los Angeles. At not even a year old, the brand has caught the attention of singers like Saweetie. Smith has big goals for the label and plans to expand from denim into other clothing like hoodies in the future.