Genevieve Jones – The March, 2006 issue of Vogue magazine, declared Genevieve Jones “girl of the moment” after the socialite began showing up in fashion circles. She now has her own line of handbags and fashion accessories.
Pat Cleveland – Rose to prominence as a model for the Ebony Fashion Fair. She had unique way of walking and dancing down the runway that influenced models like Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell.
Eunice Johnson – Johnson created and directed Ebony magazine’s Ebony Fashion Fair for more than 50 years. Over the years, the fair has raised more than $55 million for charitable causes and launched the careers of many black models and designers.
Naomi Sims – Along with Beverly Johnson and Donyale Luna, Sims is considered one of the first major black models. In 1969, she appeared on the cover of Life magazine.
Grace Jones – In the 80’s, Grace Jones became a fashion icon for her androgynous style and bold attitude. She was a muse to artist Andy Warhol and pushed fashion boundaries with bold costumes before Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga.
Sammy Davis Jr. – Davis was the first black man to grace the cover of GQ, in September of 1967.
Stephen Burrows – Burrows is acknowledged as a leading name in fashion. He was one of the first widely-known black designers, and represented the United States in the 1970 Versailles benefit fashion show.
Diana Ross – According to biographies, Ross wanted to be a fashion designer and studied design and pattern making at Cass Technical High School in Detroit as a young woman. Instead, she became an iconic singer, and took her passion for fashion with her.
June Ambrose – As a stylist, Ambrose’s clients have included Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jay-Z, Missy Elliott and Zoe Saldana. She currently has a reality television show, Styled by June, on Bravo.
Kanye West – Many rappers have become clothiers, launching their own apparel brands, but few take it as seriously as West. Last year, he launched his own women’s designer line during Paris fashion week.
Robin Givhan is the fashion critic for Newsweek/ The Daily Beast. Before that, she was fashion editor of the Washington Post. In 2006, she became the first fashion writer to win a Pulitzer Prize for criticism.
Michelle Obama – No first lady’s style has been watched as closely as Michelle Obama’s since Jacqueline Kennedy. She has inspired several books on clothing and hair. Mrs. Obama has graced the cover of Vogue and her fashion moves can be followed on the website Mrs-O.com.
Michael Jackson – With a career that spanned many fashion trends, the King of Pop carved out a unique style based on military styles, leather and sparkle.
Josephine Baker – Olivia Lahs-Gonzales, director of the Sheldon Art Galleries said of Baker, “She helped popularize Art Deco, and she epitomized the style — her look was extremely sleek and almost machine-like, her hair like a cap.”
Beverly Johnson –Johnson made history in 1974, when she became the first black model to appear on the cover of American Vogue.
Iman – “My dream woman is Iman,” said Yves Saint-Laurent of the Ethiopian model. After a long career of magazine covers and serving as muse to famous designers, she now owns Iman Cosmetics, a reportedly $25-million-a-year business.
Naomi Campbell – Campbell was one of six models of her generation declared “supermodels” by the fashion world. She has appeared on the cover of Vogue magazine several times.
Donyale Luna on the cover of British Vogue, March 1966, the first black woman ever to appear on its cover. According to Luna, Vogue made her cover her nose and lips so that it would not be clear she was black.
Andre Leon Talley – Talley is the former editor-at-large of American Vogue. He has helped to guide the career of young black designers, models and editors, including Tyra Banks and Rachel Roy.
Mikki Taylor – Taylor served as Essence magazine’s beauty & cover director for 30 years. She is now editor-at-large for the publication.
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In a special feature, TIME magazine listed their 100 greatest fashion icons. The list included people from the world of fashion, designated into categories of muses, designers and photographers.
“We picked the 100 most influential fashion icons since 1923, the beginning of TIME … magazine,” the publication’s site read. Their collection included seven people of African descent: Naomi Campbell, Iman, Beverly Johnson, Josephine Baker, Michael Jackson, Michelle Obama and Robin Givhan.
From the wealth of black models, designers, photographers and others contributing to the world of fashion, theGrio offers a few more.
Follow Donovan X. Ramsey on Twitter at @idxr