Beauty can blossom from some of the most unexpected places, and there might not be anywhere more unexpected than Twitter. But that’s exactly where the online library of Black designers, Black-owned brands, and marketplace called Black Fashion Fair originated, with a thread from Antoine Gregory back in 2016.
This pivotal Twitter thread represents a list of roughly 60 “Black Designers You Should Know” curated by Gregory, the Brand Director of the clothing line Theophilio, stylist, and consultant. These humble beginnings on Twitter served as the seed for what he would create with Black Fashion Fair. Gregory was motivated by the lack of a curriculum devoted to Black designers at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where he was a student at the time. He set out to fill this void with Black Fashion Fair by hosting community events, creating education opportunities, and building partnerships with the likes of the Brooklyn Sewing Academy.
Now, Gregory has created Black Fashion Fair’s first-ever print publication, which was released earlier this month ahead of New York Fashion Week. The debut issue, entitled “Volume 0: SEEN,” is replete with 200 pages of essays, interviews, and photographs that explore the Black influence on fashion and serves as a historic collection of global fashion imagery from both emerging and established talents.
The book comes in three different photographic covers, each depicting the work of Black creatives. Cover one features an image of model Aleya Ali wearing New York-based clothing line Pyer Moss by Kerby Jean-Raymond, with photography by duo Ahmad Barber and Donté Maurice of AB+DM. Cover two features model Joan Smalls wearing Theophilio by Edvin Thompson taken by Quil Lemons. Finally, cover three features a photograph of model Maria Borges wearing the LA-based luxury women’s label Sergio Hudson and is once again taken by AB+DM.
This first issue was made available to the public on February 7th, released on Black Fashion Fair’s website and at Iconic Magazines in Manhattan. While the issue has already sold out, I think it’s safe to say the next volume is in the works.