The lack of diversity is unfortunate in the wedding industry as few names often come to mind when thinking of top wedding dress designers. Few black wedding dress designers rarely come to mind as they are often overlooked.
During the wedding of Jacqueline Bouvier to John. F. Kennedy in 1952, Anne Lowe, a black woman who designed her wedding gown was referred to as a woman of color when Bouvier was asked who made her wedding dress.
Designers such as Andrea Pitter-Campbell of Panton Bridal strive to create inclusion in the wedding industry, creating a safe place for brides who wish to be celebrated for who they are. Here are 10 black wedding designers to look out for.
Andrea Pitter-Campbell of Pantora Bridal
Designed with the black bride in mind, Pantora Bridal offers relatable luxury with truer sizes for women. Her designs which are inviting with unique aesthetics, flatter the curves and include trimmings such as bling and lace.
Naming it “feel good bridal wear”, Pitter launched a line named Forgotten Skin Tones with an array of mesh linings and illusions for brides of color ranging from buff to deep as standard mesh colors do not compliment the darker complections.
Stephanie White of Odylyne The Ceremony
Stephanie White tailor makes each dress keeping a story in mind as she believes wedding gowns are about entering someone else’s fantasy. The silhouettes are unique because they draw inspiration from the moment connected to the entire theme.
Her gowns target free-spirited Bohemian brides who are looking for something unique with ornate embellishments and delicate details. White’s collections are filled with romantic gowns that have bell sleeves, soft ruffles, and magnificent pleating.
Jean Ralph Thurin
Having a great love of custom-designed gowns, Thurin has been in the industry for over 20 years. Motivated by the architecture of black women and their bodies, the designer’s focal point is creating custom-designed wedding gowns and evening wear.
The majority of Thurin’s clients approach him with an idea in mind while embracing their curves opt for form-fitting dresses. Thurin’s main goal is to enhance his client’s curves using different types of lines and fabric embellishments.
Amsale Aberra of Amsale
The brand was started by the late Ethiopian American, Amsale Aberra who passed away in 2018. Inspired by her search for a wedding gown in the ’80s which was over the top, she started the brand to cater to the minimalist modern brides who were much like herself.
The brand which is being carried on by her husband, the CEO Neil Brown offers an array of couture gowns with fine fabrics. Striving to create the brand accessible, Amsale caters to the modern-day bride who is both confident yet refined, sophisticated yet statement-making.
The designer who first started by creating custom evening gowns started to make wedding gowns after being inspired by her search for wedding dresses. Realising, the lace for standard wedding gowns were not catered to darker skin women, she entered the industry.
Her brand which strives to custom tailor makes a wedding dress for each bride speaks to women who pay attention to detail through hand embroidery, crystals, and pearls and appreciate the amount of work put into creating each garment.
Nneka C. Alexander of Brides by Nona
Feeling disappointed by the options in the market while searching for her wedding dress, Nneka resulted in sewing her dress. Leaving behind her career in investment to help other brides out there, her brand of Brides by Nona was born.
Her dresses draw focus to clean and modern lines aiming to leave brides feeling both sexy and beautiful on their big day. Reinventing themselves every year, she aims to create several diverse gowns that make a bride want to opt for her gowns.
Leah Langley-McClean, elleNelle Bridal
While designing her wedding gown to embrace her curves and walking down the aisle in her creation, Leah realized she wanted to pursue a career in the wedding gown industry leaving behind her career in accounting.
Embracing the pressure of designing a gown for a big occasion, her brand caters to curvier women. Not afraid to emphasize the curves of women, Langley-McClean produces modern and sleek dresses all while flattering the bride’s dress shape.
Valentine Avoh of Valentine Avoh
From studying from the prestigious London College of Fashion to designing custom-made gowns for the Queen of Belgium in 2015, the Valentine Avoh brand was born. Inspired by the glamorous era of the early ’30s and ’50s, her work is fluid, delicate, and refined.
Emphasizing femininity without compromising on ease, she uses fine materials such as feathers, tulles, and french silks to make brides look their best on their wedding day. Her brand customizes each gown according to the bride’s curves and tastes.
Yemi Osunkoyah of Kosibah
Born in Nigeria, Yemi draws inspiration to create his gowns from his hometown. Always knowing from a young age that he wanted to pursue a career in wedding dresses, he launched Kosibah which is the spelling of his mother’s name backward.
Kosibah mainly specializes in high-end custom-made gowns which are slightly over the top as the gowns are embellished with Swarovski crystals and lace. The gowns which are both elegant and classy are perfectly made to accommodate every body shape.
Carly Cushnie of CUSHNIE
Cushnie is a luxury bridal and ready-to-wear brand that boasts both sleek and architectural styles. Understanding what her customers require, her brand has been worn by several famous figures such as Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, and Gal Gadot.
Her collection provides a selection to women from custom-made sheath dresses that complement their curves to intricate necklines and jumpsuits. Aiming to make women feel powerful and classy at the same time her main focus is providing classic silhouettes.