Fashion Daily


Home & Leisure

These Black designers are changing fashion perceptions

Gavin Godfrey, Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Fashion Daily News

ATLANTA -- The thought of using his fashion line to show love for Atlanta had been on Quintin Crumpler’s mind for a while.

The fashion designer is a product of metro area. It’s where he is raising his four children. It’s where he founded and is building his prep, sportswear and tailoring line Goat by James King. The brand, founded in 2018, is a nod to his middle name, royal disposition in the Black community and being the best at what you do. So, when it came time to plan his 2023 spring collection, Crumpler included a crewneck with brand’s name embroidered on the chest, and “Atlanta” just below.

For the emerging Black-owned brand’s creator, the subtle nod to home sends a message.

“People probably would look at that and be like, well, ‘I’m not from Atlanta, why would I wear it?’ Other fashion cities — New York, Los Angeles, Paris — do it. It’s me consciously trying to establish that Atlanta is serious about fashion,” Crumpler said.

Whereas Atlanta is a fashionable city, it’s not synonymous with fashion. Yet, like the city‘s rise to becoming the hip-hop epicenter, Black and brown designers are bringing global attention to local catwalks. Like their predecessors, homegrown talents and transplants are finding success outside the Perimeter, but are still challenged by a lack of representation, funding and exposure.

“If you look at the music, even when OutKast came out first, they were getting booed, but they just didn’t understand our point of view,” Crumpler said. “I think that’s the same culturally here as it relates to fashion.”‘A movement of Black designers’


Kenya Freeman has seen this current boom of Black fashion designers before. The womenswear designer behind Sylvia Mollie Collections came to Atlanta in 1998 when Black fashion was heavy on Afrocentric brands like Cross Colours and asymmetric haircuts. Coming from Norfolk, Virginia, Freeman remembers Timberland boots being swapped out for Reebok Classics.

Freeman was studying fashion design at American Intercontinental University. In the industry, there was a rise of Black-owned design brands heavily influenced by hip-hop culture including Phat Farm, Baby Phat, RP55, as well as lines from rappers Missy Elliott and Eve. “It was just a movement of Black designers,” she remembers. “When you actually see that representation in your face and then you’re like I can do exactly what they’re doing on my own terms because they’ve already done it.”

It’s happening again in Atlanta. Before the Internet started fawning over “Next in Fashion” darling Nigel Xavier — and rightfully so — names with local connections such as the late Mychael Knight, Tracy Nicole Clothing, F&W Style, Original Fani, Honor Roll Clothing, Mifland and Chilly-O Culture Co. were generating buzz at home and overseas.

In 2016, Freeman was a finalist on season 16 of “Project Runway.” Her line focuses on plus-size wear, and makeup for women. She’s landed collaborations with retail giants Torrid and Shein. Atlanta’s spirit of celebrating Black individuality drives a lot of what she sees in the current crop of successful designers. “We create our own rules when it comes to fashion. We’re okay with mixing the stripes and the polka dots and the neons with the grays and the black — all of that.”


swipe to next page

©2024 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus