The fashion industry has experienced a transformative shift within the last two years, with the global pandemic forcing every sector of business to re-examine and recalibrate how and where it does business. One of the more pressing issues is diversity and the fashion business in particular made a shift that is already beginning to pay dividends for more Black designers that have ascended and shined in the last few cycles.
The Black in Fashion Council (BIFC) entered into the fray at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis and has been vital in providing a platform for designers of color as the industry examines and dissects the history of the lack of diversity in mainstream fashion. Through their support, a succession of Black designers as well as groups like Harlem Fashion Row has led to the emergence of people of color making historical gains in an industry that has been whitewashed for generations.
MailChimp and Black In Fashion Council Presents ‘Guess Less, Sell More’
The BIFC has led the way in creating more avenues of opportunity for Black designers to share their creations at Fashion Week and their fifth season was in partnership with IMG, which partnered with marketing platform MailChimp to release a limited edition collection in collaboration with five Black designers breaking through in a significant way in the business.
One designer selected for the panel included none other than Samantha Black, who was commissioned alongside four others to create pieces to be available for the first-ever pop-up shop at New York Fashion Week under the banner, ‘NYFW: The Shows‘. Known for her creations that encompass a feminine, eclectic edge for the progressive and powerful woman, her ready-to-wear has created a stir in the industry, so her cooperation as part of the panel was newsworthy. Black’s participation in the presentation included a black cotton tee with swirls and a logo embroidering. The stylish yet simple offering was in line with her vision to create pieces worthy of couture status.
Immigrants, Inspiration, and the Beautiful Clash Of Cultures
As the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, Samantha Black is a first-generation sartorial sensation that is living the American dream and as it unfolds before our very eyes, hers is the true definition of the American dream. Her sense of style springs from snippets of inspiration she has collected over the years from everything she encounters as a New Yorker born and raised in a melting pot that shifted across a cornucopia of cultures. Her own label, Sammy B, is a reflection of not only her Caribbean ties but also of the other nationalities she grew up around and all the flavors brought to the table. Today, her apparel is worn by a who’s who of celebrities that are drawn to her mantra of playful energy and joie de vivre.
After graduating from Pratt Institute, like many designers before her, Samantha Black initially traversed across the corporate ladder of the industry before branching out and launching her own entity in 2016. She took all of her experience working for a number of brands to her own, including stints at American Apparel, Jordache, Target, Aeropostale, and more. Reality show fans recognize not only her creations but her face from season 11 of the popular Project Runway, where she made a definitive lane for herself with designs that stood out amongst many competitors. So much so, in fact, that Black was invited back for Project Runway All-Stars. The experience gained on these shows gave her, even more, name recognition and drove her to embark on her own journey toward realizing the dream of having her own label. Thus, the eponymous Sammy B ready-to-wear brand was born.
Samantha B, ‘12/45’
Edgy streetwear converges with glamour and bold sex appeal – the trappings of ‘12/45’, Samantha B’s Spring/Summer 2023 Collection that debuted at live Rocket Studios in collaboration with Pynk Magazine and its founder Mecca Moore-Henson. The vibe on the runway was definitive and in abundance, striking out amongst a barrage of color and intricate cuts that gave credence to Black’s insistence on going big or staying home.
Home was front and center of the collection, with the title taken in commemoration of her family’s house growing up in The Bronx on 12/45 Virginia Avenue. It was there that the early manifestations of her dream began to form, molding the designer into the woman who would later weave all the flavors of her childhood into a sartorial palette that now the world is enjoying in its tailored splendor.
Who Is The Sammy B Woman?
Urban glam streetwear that is playful, confident, and presented in no-holds-barred fashion is one way to describe the essence of the Sammy B aesthetic, which taps into the mantra of adhering to no rules that are thoroughly in line with the progressive woman of today. Resonating with charismatic fashionistas, Sammy B’s sartorial vibe has been seen on a slew of celebrities, including Beyoncé, Halle Berry, Gabrielle Union, Lizzo, Yara Shahidi, Issa Rae, Fantasia, Keke Palmer, and more. With an abundance of sass mixed with chic, Sammy B takes no prisoners and speaks no lies.