Black Renaissance: 20 Game Changers Under 30

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abs list carlyWho: Carly Cushnie, 29

What: London-born fashion designer Carly Cushnie and her partner Michelle Ochs are both graduates of Parsons School of Design and share a similar taste in fashion – all black everything. In 2009, the duo launched Cushnie et Ochs to fill the void for the “sophisticated woman who wanted to be sexy without being vulgar.”

The duo had early signs of success when their senior graduating collection was featured in a cover story for WWD. Soon after, Bergdorf Goodman picked up their first collection for the spring 2009. Saks, Neiman Marcus and U.K.-based Harvey Nichols would later follow.

In 2011, Cushnie ed Ochs grossed approximately $2 million and has been seen on celebrities such as singer Rihanna, actresses Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, and first lady Michelle Obama.

abs list mattieWho: Mattie James, 29

Mattie James first began her journey as a style blogger in 2010 after winning Miss Liberia U.S.A. James established Mattieologie LLC—the parent company of Mattieologie.com; Atlanta Style Bloggers, a conglomerate of fashion, beauty and lifestyle bloggers; and Style Bloggers of Color, a conference designed to unite style bloggers of all hues to discuss maximizing social media and digital content, as well as securing brand opportunities, among other things.

Recently, she was handpicked by Cotton Inc, the famously Fabric Of Our Lives lobbying firm, to influence the Southeast regional market on all things cotton, and flown out to Miami to help style its 24 Hour Runway Show. In fall 2013, she hosted #RRRFall10 with designer Rachel Roy at Macy’s, where Mattie serves as an Atlanta Advisory Board member.

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