20 Black Fashion Designers Who Shaped History

20 Black Fashion Designers Who Shaped History

Stephen Burrows

Stephen Burrows was taught to sew by his grandmother. By 1969, Burrows had opened O Boutique; he then started his own ready-to-wear collection. The opening of the “Stephen Burrows” boutique at the iconic Henri Bendels catapulted his career. The collection was bold and bright and drew the attention of Diana Ross and Cher. Burrows’ clothes were the embodiment of the era and its glittering Studio 54 nightlife aesthetic. He was drawn to disco and used silk and jersey that reflected movement and color. Burrows crafted a close fit and a slim silhouette, the “Burrows Signature,” along with the “lettuce hem,” a narrow zig-zag stitch, which became his trademark. Burrows was chosen along with Halston, Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, and Anne Klein to represent America in the Battle of Versailles, a fashion face-off against French powerhouses Pierre Cardin, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, and Emanuel Ungaro. It was the night that American fashion stumbled into the spotlight and made history. He garnered a European audience, won the Coty 3 times, and was bestowed “The Board of Directors Special Tribute” by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Burrows continues to design today.

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