Where words fail, fashion speaks. It is the universal language that all understand. We come from near and far just to adore the contoured silhouettes and bold accent color patterns created by some of the greatest designers in the industry. Fashion brings worlds together.

Throughout time the fashion industry has continued to inspire the hearts and minds of the African American community. It was during the Harlem Renaissance era that the Black Community evolved in the fashion industry. The migration north afforded better opportunities in not only fashion but also business ownership. In 1948 Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes, an African American fashion and costume designer became the first black designer to open her shop in Manhattan on Broadway and West 158th.

Valdes has designed for fellow artists such as Ruby Dee, Dorothy Dandridge, Josephine Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughn, to name a few. By 1970 she was asked by Arthur Mitchell to create designs for the Dance Theater of Harlem. She continued to work for the theatre until her death in 2001.

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Throughout time the fashion industry has continued to inspire the hearts and minds of the African American community. It was during the Harlem Renaissance era that the Black Community evolved in the fashion industry. The migration north afforded better opportunities in not only fashion but also business ownership. In 1948 Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes, an African American fashion and costume designer became the first black designer to open her shop in Manhattan on Broadway and West 158th. Valdes has designed for fellow artists such as Ruby Dee, Dorothy Dandridge, Josephine Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughn, to name a few. By 1970 she was asked by Arthur Mitchell to create designs for the Dance Theater of Harlem. She continued to work for the theatre until her death in 2001.

From the early fashions of the Harlem Renaissance to the fashions greats of Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes. From large runway shows in Paris to the local fashion platforms of Soar The Runway.  We celebrate the lives of those that have gone on and those that continue to pave the way for Fashion in the Black Community. May we continue to soar to higher heights and may fashion always be filled with colors in a world of Black and White.

ChontéNíchol