What makes a brand “emerging”? Is it certain A-list clientele? An industry backing from the likes of the CFDA? Being stocked at key retailers? I’ve been thinking a lot about these labels and what defines them in my never-ending quest to spotlight fashion’s most exciting new talent. While there still isn’t one universal set of benchmarks for defining who’s “emerging” versus who’s fully on the scene, I think I have a pretty good idea of the latter—five names, to be specific.
These labels immediately come to mind for possessing that elusive It factor. They’ve experienced at least one big breakthrough moment that catapulted them to major popularity and, in my mind, transcended them from their “emerging” status onto a new plane of notoriety. That looked different for each of the below brands. For Farai London, it was a single Instagram post of Kylie Jenner in one of the brand’s signature body-hugging cutout dresses a mere month after launch. For NYC-based Tia Adeola (formerly known as Slashed by Tia), it was going viral during the height of the pandemic for her ruffle-trimmed face masks that fused protection with panache. Sure, you can argue that a single viral moment doesn’t ensure longtime success, but if there’s one thing I’m certain of, it’s that the designers behind these five brands have that special sauce.
Whether it be an Instagrammable dress, gender-obliterating basics, an outrageously pretty face mask, or ethereal resortwear, scroll to get to know these five emerging Black-owned fashion brands. They aren’t just up next—if you ask me, they’ve fully arrived.