Who are some black American and African designers first lady Michelle Obama should wear? Click on to get our advice. (Credit: INFevents.com)
Asibelua: Nigerian designer Fati Asibelua incorporates African and European influences into print-astic separates that already have companions in the First Lady’s plaid- and gingham-friendly wardrobe.
Jewel by Lisa: Michelle Obama’s penchant for classic shapes that pop with graphic patterns make us confident she would love Jewel by Lisa. Founded in 2005 by Nigerian craftswoman Lisa Folawiyo, JBL serves up embellished textiles, painterly prints and sophisticated silhouettes with the First Lady’s name written all over them.
Eric Raisina: Madagascar native Eric Raisina’s “haute texture” gowns are State Dinner-ready. Like Naaem Khan—the designer Mrs. Obama wore to the 2009 White House State Dinner with the Indian Prime Minister, and then again at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner this past May—the haute couture-trained designer not only designs his lines, he creates his textiles too.
miguel Antoinne: The First Lady’s statuesque figure and lean arms look incredible in curve-skimming maxi-length gowns that accentuate her waist, which is why we think Miami native Miguel Antoinne’s designs—specifically this tank dress with exposed zipper—would suit her to perfection. In fact, she wore a similar dress to stunning result at a gala in honor of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People back in ’09.
Keziah Frederick: The FLOTUS is always classic with a twist, whether that twist comes from a bold brooch, eye-popping print, or oversized bow. We could so see her in this abstract bow-print frock by St. Lucian-British designer Keziah Frederick, paired with her signature kitten heels and a bright turquoise pin, of course.
Kimberly Goldson: Known for making “a mean pant,” according to Nina Garcia, ‘Project Runway’ alum Kimberly Goldson’s sharply-tailored, high-waisted, full-legged trousers were made for the First Lady’s endless legs, and crisp easygoing style.
Sophia Beckford: When it comes to arm candy, Mrs. Obama leans toward classic shapes and bold color. At London Fashion Week black American designer Elle Tyree debuted her Sophia Beckford clutches in collaboration with designer Corrie Neilsen, presenting styles that encompass both.
Mo-Saïque Shoes: One inch shy of 6’ tall, if the First Lady isn’t stepping out in kitten heels, she’s wearing flats. These rose-embellished flats by London-based founder of Mo-Saïque Afua Dabanka would keep the FLOTUS’s feet firmly on the ground with a nod to her love of brooch-like flourish.
Mataano: Whether stepping off Air Force One after a weekend at Camp David or visiting children at a hospital in Ghana, the First Lady keeps her cool in breezy lightweight dresses not unlike this one from Mataano’s spring 2012 line. Founded by U.S.-born Somalia-raised twins Ayaan and Idyl Mohallim, the label — which enjoyed national exposure after an October 2008 appearance on Oprah’s “Young Millionaire Moguls” episode — is all about fluid pieces that marry pragmatism with panache.
Whomever the first lady chooses, we are sure she will continue to stun us with her sartorial selections. (Credit: INFevents.com)
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One of the most remarkable things about the first lady Michelle Obama’s well-documented style is her patronage of little-known and undiscovered designers. From her decision to wear Jason Wu to the inauguration to her choice to rock Duro Olowu on her historic visit to Southern Africa, she has catapulted niche designers into the annals of history, and expanded awareness of ready-to-wear labels like Tracy Reese and Rachel Roy. Her impact has also been financial — adding nearly $3 Billion of value to the brands and retailers she wore in the first half of her husband’s first term. Here are nine young designer brands we think deserving of the Michelle Obama Effect — and they all happen to be of African and African-American descent. What do you think of these looks for Mrs. O?
Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond is a fashion blogger and the author of ‘Powder Necklace.’ Follow Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond on Twitter at @nanaekua