15 Black Fashion Designers You Should Know
It’s February, which means we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, Presidents Day and Black History Month all month long. Since New York Fashion Week is fresh on our minds, we’re sharing our favorite black designers who are making serious moves in the fashion industry. Get ready to be wowed by these insanely talented black fashion designers.
1. Stella Jean: The stunning Stella Jean is one of Milan’s rising stars. In 2011, she won Vogue Italia’s talent competition, “Who’s on Next,” and now counts designer Armani and Vogue UK editor Suzy Menkes as fans. Her designs are a true reflection of her and embody ladylike silhouettes. Her prints pay tribute to her mother’s homeland of Haiti, as well as West Africa. (Photo via Gareth Cattermole/Getty)
2. Darlene and Lizzy Okpo: Nigerian American sisters Darlene and Lizzy Okpo are the geniuses behind William Okpo, a successful women’s wear line. The Okpo sisters began designing in 2005 at the ages of 19 and 14 (yes, you read that right) with a t-shirt line called Mayhem. Their clothing has been featured in Elle and is carried in Opening Ceremony, among other retailers. (Photo via Christelle de Castro/Vice Magazine)
3. Duro Olowu: Nigerian-born designer Duro Olowu began his L fashion line in 2004 in London. It caught the eye of Vogue editor Sally Singer and Julie Gilhart of Barney’s New York. He’s become famous for his use of bold colors, African prints and ‘70s tailoring. He and his wife, Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, make one impressive power couple. (photo via Slaven Vlasic/Getty)
4. Maxwell Osborne: Maxwell Osborne is the cofounder, along with Dao Yi-Chow, of cutting-edge fashion brand Public School NYC. The brand has won two prestigious awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, as well as the accolades of Anna Wintour. In February 2014, the fashion duo decided to branch off from their menswear line, debuting a women’s collection to much praise. (Photo via Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty)
5. Jessie Adore: Jessie Adore is the current Creative Director for Harlem Fashion Row. She started as a fashion blogger before designing her first phantom handbag in 2013. After receiving critical acclaim and a slew of orders, she decided to start her handbag collection, Adore New York, in 2014. The luxury bags are made of finely crafted leather imported from Italy and manufactured in New York City. (Photo via Adore New York)
6. Olivier Rousteing: Olivier Rousteing is a French designer and the current Creative Director of Balmain. He began his designing career in 2003 at Roberto Cavalli, where he quickly worked his way up through the ranks to become Creative Director of their women’s ready-to-wear collection. In 2009, he was tapped to design for Balmain, eventually taking full control of their men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collections at age 25. WOW. (Photo via Mireya Acierto/Getty)
7. Tracy Reese: After graduating from Parsons School of Design in 1984, Tracy Reese began her career as a designer for the infamous fashion house Perry Ellis, eventually becoming the design director for their women’s portfolio. Reese began her own women’s ready-to-wear line in 1996, before following up with her second line, Plenty, in 1998. Reese’s collections are infused with ultra-femininity and are often described as bohemian, eclectic and adventurous. (Photo via Slaven Vlasic/Getty)
8. Quincy “Ouigi” Theodore: Ouigi Theodore is the founder of Brooklyn Circus/Bkc, a fashion boutique and lifestyle brand. His fashion mission is to globally redefine the image of urban America. With boutiques in Brooklyn and San Francisco and his clothes available all around the world, he’s doing just that. (Photo via @maxpoglia)
9. Ituen Basi: Ituen Basi is a Nigerian designer who began her fashion line in 2009. She has won countless awards, including “Most Innovative Designer” and “Emerging Designer of the Year, Africa.” Her designs celebrate individuality and feminism, and have ushered in a new era of unique Ankara designs. (Photo via Samir Hussein/Getty)
10. June Ambrose: June Ambrose is the mastermind stylist and costume designer behind your favorite nineties music videos for artists like Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey and Jay-Z, just to name a few. Ambrose began her company, Mode Squad, when no one was in the business of dressing celebrities. A couple decades later, she has written a book, launched a women’s ready-to-wear collection (June by June Ambrose), and continues to style celebrities. (Photo via Chelsea Lauren/Getty)
11. Dexter and Byron Peart: Dexter and Byron Peart are the twin brothers and founders of high-end accessories label WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie. Prior to starting their accessories line in 2006, both brothers began the WANT Agency and helped introduce fashion brands like Acne, Nudie Jeans, Filippa K and Maison Kitsuné to North American markets. Their collection includes travel bags and accessories inspired by timeless and functional design classics. (Photo via Wanted Les Essentiels de la Vie)
12. Andrea Iyamah: Andrea Iyamah is famous for her namesake resort swimwear and women’s ready-to-wear collection, which offers unique pieces with a modern twist. Her designs have garnered the attention of socialites like Angela Simmons and have been featured in many publications, including Cosmopolitan UK and Ebony. (Photo via The Style HQ)
13. Armando Cabral: You might recognize this fashion model-turned shoe and accessories designer from your J. Crew catalog. In 2009, Armando Cabral decided to turn his passion for shoes and design into a reality and launched a shoe collection. The brand offers a minimalist, modern and metropolitan perspective on fashion. (Photo via Jason Carter Rinaldi/Getty)
14. Carly Cushnie: While completing her degree at Parsons School of Design, Carly Cushnie perfected her skill as a designer at Donna Karan, Oscar De La Renta and Proenza Schouler. She paired up with Michelle Ochs and launched Cushnie Et Ochs, a women’s ready-to-wear label that has since been donned by celebrities like Reese Witherspoon, Rihanna and Michelle Obama. (Photo via Jemal Countess/Getty)
15. Jerome Lamaar: Lamaar began his design career at 15 years old, working as an intern for Kimora Lee Simmons’ Baby Phat. He was eventually promoted to Senior Designer, and then went on to serve as an apprentice to fashion house Chado Ralph Rucci and consult for brands like Armani before launching his own women’s ready-to-wear line. (Photo via Vivien Killilea/Getty)
Who are your favorite fashion designers of the moment? Let us now in the comments below!
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com