Black Fashion Designers exhibit at FIT

- Designers of African descent make up about one percent of the designers covered on, according to FIT. That is one of the reasons why the curators at the museum of FIT gathered some of the greatest works from this underrepresented community in one place.

The exhibit features a broad range of contributions from designers from the 1950s to the present. On display is a 1968 wedding dress by Ann Lowe, who also designed the gown Jackie Kennedy wore to marry the 35th president of the United States.

Creations from many other early innovators who didn't receive widespread recognition are finally getting their due here.

Model turned fashion guru Audrey Smaltz donated several pieces from her personal collection.

Other iconic items include the very first Playboy costume designed by Zelda Wynn Valdes in 1960.

The fashion continues into the 1970s, a decade when designers of color took center stage.

A look back at fashion history would suggest inclusion in the industry comes in waves, and now designers like Laquan Smith, Duro Oluwo and Balmain's Olivier Rousteing continue to raise the profile for a diverse talent-rich community.

The curators acknowledge it is problematic to label designers by race. However, because these achievements are so often overlooked, they felt this exhibit could be a teaching tool to improve inclusion in the industry.

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