For all the hunties scrolling clips of the hottest fashion shows and Outfits of the Day, Antoine Gregory has always served as a savoury source of style. Until now, Twitter has been his window by which he shares his discoveries and couture archives. No matter what he posts about, the nucleus is the same. Black fashion designers—Forever.
Having studied at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, Gregory has strived to make the fashion world more aware of Black faces in fashion. In 2016, his Twitter thread called “Black Designers You Should Know” became a roll call for the best old school and new school Black fashion designers. LaQuan Smith, Carly Cushnie, Hanifa, James Phlemuns, and Kerby Jean-Raymond founder of Pyer Moss are just some to whom Antoine gives prominence.
This humble but pertinent beginning laid the four year foundation for Black Fashion Fair. Gregory’s launch of brilliance was long awaited and right on time. This global era of unrest has thrown Black designers into relief. This venture’s purpose is clear and it’s manifestation is bold and promising. The website professes to be “a conceptual trade, educational, and cultural experience aimed toward the discovery and furtherance of Black designers.” Our own personal heavens opened when we saw the A-Z directory that organizes creatives by their real name instead of the brand. It’s a great time to be a Black designer.
“It is also a tool to reach the designer brands through commerce. Buying Black is easy, but we need support and community around Black designers that help sustain their businesses long-term. I want to see Black designers become heritage brands,” says Gregory.
“As Black Fashion Fair continues to advocate for greater access and visibility, these stories will document and preserve Black fashion and style as designers continue to gain equity in an industry that has not mirrored them. These stories are about more than fashion. These stories are a historical and cultural reference. They are the representation of a people who are often forgotten and whose contributions have largely been ignored,”
Yet another engaging feature is a digital trade show displaying fashion by 21 designers, including couture notables like Tia Adeola, Phlemuns and Fe Noel. 15 percent of profits are donated by the designer to pay it forward to the next round of designing participants.