Black History Month: 6 Men & Women Who Have Shaped the Fashion Industry
Jay Jaxon, who trained in prestigious fashion houses such as Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior, paved the way for designers like Virgil Abloh and Olivier Rousteing. Jaxon was famed for his success in France, one of the few African American designers to enjoy such success in the fashion capital, rescuing design house Jean Louis Scherrer from the brink of collapse in 1969 and becoming the first African American to become a head designer at a French couture house.
Considered to be Giorgio Armani’s protégé, Stella Jean is an Italian fashion designer and member of the Italian Chamber of Fashion. Jean has had a successful career within Italy, her blend of traditional Italian style fused with different cultures and influences making her one of the most influential women in Italian fashion. Having designed for the likes of Rihanna and Beyonce, Jean has also featured in V&A exhibitions and collaborated with the likes of Christian Louboutin. Jean is also the first and only Italian fashion designer to take to the stage at a BLM protest.
Famed for his work as CEO of Off-White, Virgil Abloh has been breaking boundaries in the fashion industry since his very first foray into the world of international fashion. Starting off in Chicago street fashion before bagging himself an internship at Fendi, Abloh has gone on to be one of the most renown fashion designers, and the first American of African descent to be artistic director at a French luxury fashion house, being named the Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton in 2018.
Donyale Luna was the first African-American model to appear on the front cover of British Vogue and has been cited as the first black supermodel. Luna, who enjoyed a successful career in the worlds of both fashion and film, is cited as one of the key figures for bringing about change in the world of fashion. Luna’s infamous 1966 Vogue cover enabled much more diversity within fashion modelling, paving the way for women and men of the future.
Another incredibly successful and powerful woman, Naomi Campbell’s long and illustrious career highlight just how influential she has been within the fashion industry. Famed for being one of the “big six”, a group of influential supermodels within the 90s, Campbell became the first black model to appear on the cover of French Vogue and was the first black model to appear on the illustrious September cover of American Vogue.