February 8

Today, I’m honoring the first African American clothing designer (at least that I could find). Elizabeth Keckley,  a former slave who bought her freedom, became the personal dress-maker for First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln as well as the wife of confederate president Jefferson Davis. It is believed that some of her dresses still exist today. Check out this article from the Smithsonian, “The Story of Elizabeth Keckley, Former-Slave-Turned-Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker,” including some color pictures of those dresses!

For more modern day African American fashion designers, check out these articles from complex.com, “The 25 Greatest Black Fashion Designers,” and this one from thedailybeast.com, “The Best Black Fashion Designers of All Time.”