Thursday, January 24, 2013

African American Designers: Therez Fleetwood

Therez Fleetwood’s bridal collection combines the exotic and romantic with the modern and structured. Inspired by color, shape and texture, Therez creates a unique collection of gowns that combine stylish silhouettes, gorgeous fabrics, exquisite details and creative design patterns made from beads, trinkets, embroidery, shells and lace. "Our society is a melting pot of various cultures", says Fleetwood, "we are choosing to express ourselves and our individuality in all aspects of our lives including our wedding attire. For a long time, brides wore traditional wedding dresses that did not represent their diversity".

Brides like her because her designs are unique, sexy and fun, allowing them to make a personal statement on their wedding day. Therez moves against the trends and expresses her fashion sensibilities while breaking the modern wedding mold. As a custom designer, her wedding dresses have received rave reviews from brides all over the world, Brides from as far away as Germany, Egypt, Italy, Tanzania, and Australia have embraced her designs and donned her dresses.
Therez's bridal designs have been on display in the "New York Gets Married" and "Black Style Now" exhibits at the Museum of the City, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, where she designed an original wedding gown to support the fund raising efforts for "‘The Lost Boys of the Sudan" and at the Fashion Institute of Technology, (the college in which she
attended), in honor of the Black Fashion Museum. She was also a featured designer highlighted in Macy’s “Catch the Designers” which provided a ‘behind the runway’ look at the diverse designers impacting fashion today.
Her fashions appear in Fairchild Publication's text book entitled Survey of Historic Costume, as well as the pages of InStyle Weddings, Brides Noir, Wedding Dresses and the Knot. Therez has been a guest on several television shows including the Today Show, Good Day New York and BET Nightly News, showcasing several of her unique wedding gowns. The popularity of her bridal collection caught the eye of executives at American Express and she was asked to appear in the nationally syndicated television commercial entitled "Portraits".
It was her desire to travel that brought her to several countries throughout the world. And It t was her love of Africa, its
culture and arts that prompted her to write, The AfroCentric Bride – A Style Guide, Amber Books, which provides clear, concise and helpful information for couples who choose to infuse cultural elements into their wedding.
Ms. Fleetwood’s entrepreneurial spirit and achievements earned her the Allstate Insurance Company’s "From Whence We Came, African-American Women of Triumph" Award. She also designed the only Afrocentric costumes to be worn by Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, which have now become part of their themed costume collection.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

African American Designers: Ashaka Givens

Women's Wear Daily wrote it best when describing the Ashaka Givens collection in 2003: "slinky and seventies a la Halston with a dash of bohemia." The fashion trade magazine subsequently bestowed on Givens a "most promising designer" nod at her last Mercedes Benz Fashion Week runway show in 2005 for her sleek red carpet-ready looks, placing the Rochester, New York native on their "Ones to Watch" list. And a wide cross-section of tastemakers took note: The Roots' funky drummer ?uestlove; singer Raphael Saadiq; rapper/actor Common, and Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu, to name a few who have commissioned one-of-a-kind pieces from Givens.
Givens' love affair with fashion began in high school where she intuitively taught herself how to design women's clothing and produced her own runway shows. She went on to study fashion design at Buffalo State College and spent a leg of her time there as a student at the Manchester Metropolitan University in England. It was abroad where she honed her tailoring techniques and studied couture design. Givens further developed her signature style think "funk-meets-sophistication" at the Fashion Institute of Technology, graduating with the class of 1996.

Upon graduating, Givens began designing custom pieces for her first major client, Erykah Badu, who she met in New York City in 1996 at the brink of her musical career. She began dressing the singer for events such as the Grammys, music videos, international tours, and live television performances. Badu, then a rising music sensation, big screen star and fashion plate, landed on best-dressed lists across the country, crediting Givens along the way. When Badu exclaimed to People magazine that Givens "has the best fit on the planet," the endorsement marked Givens' arrival on red carpets the nation over. Several years later Rosario Dawson echoed Badus' sentiment telling the designer that she loves the spirit embodied in her pieces.
Since, her celebrity clientele has grown to include singer Angie Stone, TLC, Floetry, actress Annabella Sciorra, Les Nubians, and many more. In 2006 Givens expanded her women's ready-to-wear line to include bridal and special occasion dressing. She debuted her first bridal gowns during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and stated: "In the spirit of my women's wear line, I want my brides' gowns to reflect their individuality. Wangechi Mutu, known in the art world for her originality, paid me a gracious compliment at her wedding saying that she loved her gown so much she intended to preserve it in order to pass it down to her daughter one day." That timeless elegance has enabled her to build a solid fan base comprised of fashionistas, magazine editors, stylists, musicians, artists and actors.
After a four-year hiatus, Givens has returned to do what she loves best: making women feel beautiful, sensual and powerful in her chic goddess-like creations. With a love for draping the female form in sumptuous fabrics, bold colors and sensual silhouettes, Givens is back. And women will be all the better for it.

Brown Bride of the Day 1/10/2012

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Hairstyles for African American Bride

Brown Bride of the Day 1/5/2012