By Jacqueline Condura & Channele Sawyer
With the recent talks about diversity and inclusion in the fashion industry, lately, there have been quite a few articles surrounding the issue and the need to highlight black and minority industry professionals. As a result, a multitude of pieces have been written on the topic of black designers and social media influencers. These actions have spurred the creation of a black fashion council and a panel devoted to diversity and transparency within the influencer pay scale, and the first women of color nominated as editorial director of Conde Nast. Systemic change and racial diversity are creating a neglected space in the industry with companies focusing on people of color and the value their demographic has on society. Corporations have made a pronounced commitment to racial diversity and are taking steps to embrace further integration and develop a positive all-inclusive culture. The results may not be seen overnight but over time and with responsible accountability the push across this sector will produce an impact that can felt. However, there has not been much conversation about black creatives in Africa and the diaspora of how their unique perspective could come to impact the future retail space. As a result, Black Fashion Industry professionals are finally being celebrated! In light of that, we thought it was time to highlight these talented individuals and the effects their contributions have on the fashion market.
TA , NYC
Ta could not have come at a more perfect time, amid a summer of Black Lives Matter protests and discussions about diversity and inclusion in the fashion industry, Ta’s opening seized the moment. The novice concept shop is in the meatpacking district of NYC and is the first black and female-owned independent concept shop to exist in the United States. With the owner taking a non-traditional approach to the industry, she previously worked in digital media and as a publicist. The idea behind TA was to bring together a unique curation of designers from around the globe that could not be shopped elsewhere. The shop carries luxury designers from around the globe including Korea, Paris, and Milan. The owner, Telsha Anderson, manages all facets of her womenswear boutique using both her creative and business skills proving she is a force in the field and one to watch. Drop by this visionary shop for a visit where you will enjoy a selection of mindfully curated items and receive a personalized experience from an up-and-coming small business supporting a worthwhile endeavor.
Alara is the hottest concept shop located in the Port Victoria section of Lagos, Nigeria. The hip colorful interior showcases a mix of contemporary design and curated colorful eclectic items that feature ethnic touches from the region. The shop is known for carrying and mix of European Ready To Wear selections in combination with one of a kind pieces from Nigerian Designers. Established in 2014, the shop’s founder Reni Folawiyo, who is a London native with roots in Nigeria, wanted to bring a sense of luxury to the city. Prior to the opening of Alara, the majority of Nigerians shopped abroad for luxury purchases. However, Alara stood out. The store’s concept lies in the fact that it carries a unique mix of African Luxury items combined with high-end collections from abroad.
Here, you can find one of a kind pieces with an artisanal twist from some of the countries most talented homegrown designers such as Maki Oh, Lanre de Silva Ajayi, and Tiffany Amber featured alongside brands such as Marni, Dries Van Noten, Stella Mc Cartney, and Valentino just to name a few. All items are carefully chosen and each one tells a unique story. In addition to the amazing assortment of interesting pieces, Alara also features one of a kind Artwork and inspirational design pieces. This Lagos jewel is becoming iconic and is in the same class as such notable concept shops such as Corso Como 10 of Milano, the hip Dover Street Market, and Paris’ legendary Collete. Alara has been featured in Vogue, Essence Magazine, and B.O.F., putting it on the list of one of the world’s hottest concept shops. Apart from the store’s amazing range of items, the building is a definite must-see. Alara was custom designed by world-renowned Ghanaian-British Architect David Adjaye, the genius behind the African American Museum of History in Washington D.C. The contemporary designed building acts as the perfect space to showcase Alara’s distinctive array of offerings. This retail destination is in a class by itself.
Front De Mode, Paris
Front De Monde carries over 50 brands, all devoted to the same concept of uniting a variety of designers under one roof to promote an eco-friendly philosophy.
The eco–friendly concept shop was created in 2015 by Sakina M’Sa, a design graduate of L’institut Superieur, and well-known name in French fashion. Front De Monde was founded on the idea of placing sustainability and eco–friendly fashion at the forefront. When one hears the term eco-friendly fashion, minimalism is what usually comes to mind. However, the collections carried throughout Front De Monde are anything but. Rich ethnic touches combined with hip street wear define the items that line the shelves of Front De Monde. All items in the shop are meticulously curated to pay homage to the creator’s design philosophy of bringing colorful exotic pieces to life. A section of the shop is blue devoted to the founders infamous Blue Collection. The shop carries Menswear, Womenswear and Unisex collections from both Parisian and International designers with an emphasis on Avante – Garde, Street wear and clothing made from recycled materials.
In addition to clothing, Front De Monde carries a unique selection of accessories inspired by the Bijoux as well as a range of beauty lines derived from all-natural ingredients. Front De Monde also has a dedicated space devoted to interior design and lifestyle along with food items. Fronte De Monde also features a workshop area. This well rounded shop should be a definite stop to check out in your travels.