NYFW Recap: Best Spring 2014 looks by black designers

From established names like Tracy Reese to emerging designers like Azede Jean-Pierre, black designers were behind some of the hottest looks on the New York Fashion Week runways.

Taking luxe liberties with classic sportswear shapes, presenting fresh takes on color blocking, and daring us all to flash flesh via sexy slashes and airy panels in many of their designs, these ateliers made a strong case for commandeering extra room in our closets in the coming months.

Black designers made quite an impact with strong representation, if not in the main tents of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Many independent shows and group showcases brought their looks to the forefront.

New black talent, center stage

The Spring 2014 season was a particularly strong one for new talent. Designer competition shows like Harlem’s Fashion Row, Elle Fashion Next, and, of course, Project Runway, introduced unknown designers to insiders and influencers while fresh faces enjoyed the crucial support of industry authorities.

Charles Elliot Harbison, for example, formerly a senior designer at Billy Reid and LUCA LUCA, burst onto the scene with nods from The New York Times and WWD.comwhile being featured in Vogue’s September issue.

Shayne Oliver’s sport couture brand Hood by Air was praised across the blogosphere in addition to receiving coverage on GQ.com, Vogue.com, and WWD.com.

Breaking through to the mainstream

Likewise, many designers who have heretofore enjoyed a following limited to their niches, have broken through to the mainstream. On the heels of receiving the coveted CFDA Swarovski Award for Menswear in June, Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow’s haute sportswear label Public School received widespread coverage for their Spring 2014 offering.

The new attention on these strong black talents of high fashion is long overdue, but welcome all the same. The talent has clearly always been there — but now more customers will know about it.

For more great upcoming names in fashion, click through our slideshow above for future pieces, or fashion inspiration.

Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond is the author of the novel Powder Necklace and founder of the blog People Who Write. Follow her on Twitter @nanaekua.