Hi, I'm Jodi-Gaye, the fashion designer for Pure Gazelle where I like to focus on the intersection of faith and fashion. This is Black History Month in Fashion: Fashion Designers! Check out Pure Gazelle on IG or FB for the corresponding video. I will update this post as the series continues with extra details as well as websites I found helpful.
A couple years ago someone told me that a Black fashion designer designed an iconic design and I never knew. I knew a lot about the fashion icon and even was familiar with the look. I just never knew that it was created by a black designer. This concerned me because I took two semesters of fashion history and I don't remember talking about one black fashion designer. So either I completely missed it, which I doubt or it wasn't mentioned.
- Born in slavery in February 1818.
- The father she knew was sent away out west
- Later found out she was the daughter of her slave owner
- When her enslavers planned to hire out her aging mother she offered to support the family with her sewing instead
- This started her business and
- Eventually she would make a deal and use her earnings to free herself and her son.
- Her mother was a favored slave and was allowed to learn to read
- Her mother taught her to sew as she helped as a domestic slave
- She is known for great craftsmanship and simplifying the shapes and busyness that was trending from Europe.
- This style of fashion departed from the traditional Victorian Era and began to establish American fashion.
4. Celebrity Clients
- Varna Davis, wife of Confederate president Jefferson Davis
- Washington DC elite ladies of the time
- First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln, who also became a close friend.
- She is well known for her work for the political elite of Washington D.C.
- She was one of the first African American women to publish a book.
- She was a passionate activist who started an organization that provided assistance for newly freed people from slavery.
Where you start is not where you necessarily end up. This is an amazing story of success in spite of insurmountable obstacles.