As Black History Month gets underway, leading luxury department store Neiman Marcus pays tribute to Virgil Abloh and young sustainable Black fashion designers with a new scholarship fund.
Window displays at 14 Neiman Marcus store locations will be celebrating the late Louis Vuitton artistic director, Virgil Abloh. The displays will also celebrate his “Post Modern” Scholarship Fund. Neiman Marcus’s Atlanta location will also host a self-guided exhibit focused on local Black designers.
The news comes as Neiman Marcus announced a partnership with the Fashion Scholarship Fund to support the Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund, created in 2020 by the late designer. It’s aimed at elevating Black students. The luxury retailer will be hosting a panel this month to celebrate Abloh and his commitments to Black talent as well as sustainable designers.
Abloh died in November at age 41 from a rare type of cancer. His final collection was showcased by Vuitton in Paris last month during Fashion Week.
The Louis Vuitton show was styled by Ib Kamara, editor-in-chief of the fashion publication Dazed. The show featured a number of surprise appearances, including model and fashion icon Naomi Campbell on the runway as well as music provided by Tyler the Creator.
“We wanted to keep it where we thought Virgil was with us, but push it to where Virgil would’ve taken it,” Kamara told CNN. “One of the most brilliant things about [Alboh] was that he could introduce starkly new ideas every season, but that these ideas also intertwined with seasons from the past.”
Neiman Marcus Foundation
The Neiman Marcus Foundation has been a contributor to the Fashion Scholarship Fund for several years. This year, during Black History Month, the department store chain will be raising funds across its 37 stores. Proceeds go to Abloh’s scholarship fund.
A portion of funds raised will also lead to the establishment of a new co-branded scholarship aimed at supporting youth studying sustainable and ethical fashion.
Black fashion accelerator
The iconic Black music festival and culture platform Afropunk has launched its first-ever fashion accelerator, also aimed at supporting Black designers. The program, a partnership with Shopify, will span six months and close with a summer fashion show for the brands.
Chris Bevans, creative director at DYNE, will lead the mentorship along with three guest mentors.
The program includes nine Black designers; the themes of sustainability and heritage run among the inaugural class.
Par Bronté Laurent is a sustainable luxury womenswear fashion brand that uses deadstock materials. Handmade in Ghana; the brand’s chic and minimal designs are aimed at offering “comfortability and opulence” in each piece.
Likewise, Besida, from designer Sophia Danner-Okotie, uses bold African print textiles ethically crafted in Benin City, Nigeria. The brand takes a unique approach to sustainability with a no-waste initiative and multifunction designs that increase the styles and service cycle of each garment. Unused pieces of fabric are turned into hair accessories.
Other designers in the class include Corin Linday, founder of Corin Demarco, which aims to bring culturally relevant apparel and accessories for Historically Black College and Universities; Jelisa Smith’s size-inclusive House of Fleek; and Archie Clay III & Tajh Crutch of Wear Brims, a luxury hat and accessory company founded on the principles of faith, family, and confidence.