At present, Black designers do not get the amount of spotlight they deserve. The Guardian shared testimonials where many black designers spoke of needing to constantly “prove their worth” before their designs are accepted.
However, the fact here is that many of their designs are good; many Black designers have even contributed to iconic fashion pieces time and time again — especially in the makings of footwear.
Today, we shed light on some of their achievements. Here are the top Black designers who have made some of the best shoes recognised globally:
Armando Cabral is an international model turned footwear designer in 2009. His experience on the runway allowed him to learn about the industry, leading him to see a gap in the men’s footwear market.
He makes premium men’s shoes with a minimalist silhouette; prioritizing sleek design, craftsmanship, and comfort. Soon, he plans to open the first Armando Cabral retail store in the US.
The store will not only carry his own products, but also those of fellow African designers. A plan that gives hope to every African designers out there.
Wilson Smith III
Wilson Smith popularly known as “Mr. Tennis”, graduated with an architecture degree from the University of Oregon and worked for Nike as a Corporate Interior Designer. There, Wilson found his passion for footwear and shifted his focus to designing sneakers.
Some of his biggest contributions to the footwear industry are Nike’s Air Max Uptempo, first crafted for Nike Basketball and Air Max CB34 that was first designed in 1996.
His designs have been worn by basketball pros like Kevin Garnett, Scottie Pippen, and Charles Barkley. Today, he is Nike’s Senior Designer and Design Specialist.
Jamela Acheampong started her luxury line, Kahmune, in 2017 with the goal of creating skin-tone heels for everyone’s ideal nude. In our post ‘Wardrobe Essentials For Classy Women, part of the list are a high-end pair of flats and heels.
She also produces sneakers, flats, pumps, and sandals that are available in a wide range of beautiful tones. As a result, her brand became a favorite among women when searching for their perfect, timeless nude.
Loza is another black designer making waves internationally. She is an Ivorian-American fashion designer whose fashion interest started from an early age while creating designs not just for herself but her family members as well.
This interest of hers in fashion birthed her loza Maléombho brand.
In 2009, Loza Maléombho founded her namesake brand in New York City. The Loza Maléombho brand combines traditional African design with contemporary fashion, and its products majorly consist of sandals and heels.
To this day, Maléombho works with different artisans such as shoemakers and weavers to create her collections.
Virgil Abloh was an amazing Black designer whose creativity still lives on. He will always be remembered as one of the Black designers that changed as well as contributed immensely to the fashion world especially with his kicks.
Virgil Abloh started out with an internship in Fendi alongside Kanye West. Seeing his talent, West soon appointed Abloh as the creative director of Donda, the rapper’s well-known creative company.
Abloh used the momentum to launch his luxury brand, Off-White, in 2013, which has partnered with many brands including Nike. With Nike, he released a sneaker line in 2017. In 2018, he became Louis Vuitton’s artistic director, where some of his work include the A View sneaker.
These Black designers have made a name for themselves in the industry, and more continue to do so.