How These Fashion Changemakers Are Leading the UK’s Black Fashion Renaissance

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The upper echelon of the fashion industry is notoriously exclusive. Historically, the world’s foremost fashion houses are founded and led from a Eurocentric point of view. To prioritise diversity and inclusion, designer brands, tastemakers and stakeholders recognise Black voices in the industry. These four designers are challenging the status quo with fresh, innovative designs that actively shape the future of fashion.

Nicholas Daley

Daley’s Jamaican-Scottish heritage is seen throughout his collections of men’s streetwear. He is the 2022 British Fashion Council/GQ Designer Fashion Fund winner. A testament to his impact and exceptional talent. Daley’s work embodies a fresh yet cultural perspective that highlights his narrative and speaks to the broader diaspora. His collaborations include Mulberry and Adidas, proving that authentic Black voices have a space in mainstream fashion.

Rene Macdonald

Rene Mcdonald is the curator and visionary of Lisou, a London-based women’s fashion brand. Lisou is a testament to luxury fashion with a silk medium. Mcdonald handcrafts all silk prints in-house, giving the line an exclusive identity and a modern twist. The brand has a fun, effervescent vibe, snagging features in Vanity Fair, Daily Mail, and Forbes. Mcdonald is inspired by her travels and designs clothes she wants to wear. She loves to create and be involved in something meaningful. ‘The core of me is not just about making money; it’s about doing things that matter.”

Irene Agbontaen

Agbontaen’s TTYA is a modern fashion brand curated for women who are 5’9” or taller. They also have sample pieces for women of any size. Agbontaen, who stands at 5’11”, founded TTYA in 2013 with a vision to provide timeless pieces, rooted in minimalism for tall women. The collection includes stylish jeans, floor-length dresses, rompers, and beautiful Ankara print pieces, making it the go-to fashion label for tall women. This includes industry names like Karlie Kloss, Elle Macpherson, and Wendy Williams. Vogue, Glamour, Ebony, and more highlight Agbontaen’s unique niche.

Dr. Samuel Ross

Dr. Ross is the brilliant mind behind the luxury menswear line A COLD WALL*. His designs are innovative and compared to modern architecture. These outfits includes outerwear, pants, shirts, and shoes. Perhaps most notable is Dr. Ross’s work and collaborations with brands like Pyrex Vision, Adidas, and the late global fashion icon, Virgil Abloh. His talents allowed him to assist Abloh with his work on Kanye West’s Donda clothing and Off-White. Now, with over a dozen awards and accolades in the industry, including the 2022 London Chamber Of Commerce’s Outstanding Contribution To Fashion award, Dr. Ross is proving his worth and shining as a mainstay in high-end fashion.

Misi Ogunlana

Misi Chanel Ogunlana is a creative entrepreneur with a passion for innovation. She graduated with a Business BSc in Fashion Management from the London College of Fashion, whilst managing her own independent fashion brand, KIWI&YAM. Misi has years of hands-on experience within the manufacturing industry. Her expertise is in fabric sourcing, production and supply chain management. She has worked for brands such as Amazon and Net-A-Porter. Also, she is the co-founder of boutique consultancy The Fashion Blueprint, helping brands start and scale their business. Misi is passionate about making the fashion industry a more inclusive and sustainable landscape and aims to bridge the gap of creative diversity alongside BYP.  Misi serves as BY-Peers Fashion Chief Activator here at BYP Network, helping to lead a Black community group interested in fashion and relevant events. 

Fashion is an industry that encourages free expression and challenges the norm. When Black voices are not represented, it sends a message to the world. This message tells that only a few of those voices are valued enough to share their art with the world. Our work at BYP is to highlight the beauty of Black creativity and celebrate those contributions. 

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