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11 Black Designers Who Influenced Fashion and Culture … Then and Now

Ozwald Boateng

This Londoner by way of Ghana has crafted sleek, stylish suits for actors Will Smith and Jamie Foxx, among others. He was charged to create the deft gear for films Ocean’s Thirteen and The Matrix, which says everything about his skill set and reach. His store on the legendary Savile Row in London was the first opened by an African.

willismithThe Late Willi Smith

WilliWear, the comfortable, reasonably priced line for both genders, was what he called a “Street Culture” phenomenon. Smith died of AIDS in 1987, but he crafted a legacy of being among the first to mix and match stripes, plaids and colors. His work for females won the 1983 Coty American Fashion Critics’ Award for Women’s Fashion. Smith outfitted the cast of director Spike Lee’s School Daze.

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