Fashion design takes a special talent and capability, and we always have our sights on multicultural designers who aren’t afraid to step outside of the box and push the envelope. For this year’s FABY’s, we curated a list of our Top 9 favorite designers who are responsible for the stunning haute couture and Ready-to-Wear garments that we saw models strut down the runway in.
From their vastly different approach, and architectural silhouettes, to their progression of color and interchangeable ensembles, each designer below has stayed true to their vision, showing us that anything you can imagine, you can achieve.
Without further ado, check out the nominees for the FABY’s ‘Designer of the Year’, and be sure to vote for the designer who you think brought the heat and drama on the runway.
Read more & Vote for ‘Designer of the Year’ below!
Sergio Hudson is an unstoppable force to be reckoned with in the fashion world, and has dressed celebrities like Beyoncé, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Tiffany Haddish, and Vice President Kamala Harris. His latest muse Keke Palmer was the talk of 2023, with her glamorous Sergio Hudson gowns that stole the spotlight on multiple occasions.
One thing for sure is that Hudson understands the women’s form, as the Ridgeway, South Carolina native comes from a family of fashionista’s including his mother who was a tailor, and his sister being a runway model.
Fashion has always been in Sergio’s DNA, and after becoming the first contestant to win Bravo TV’s “Style to Rock” in 2013, and earning a $100,000 grand prize, Hudson has been able to capitalize on his brand, and turn it into a household name.
Since his Project Runway heydays, Christian Siriano has come quite a long way, dressing The Who’s who of Hollywood, and giving other designers a run for their money. Originally from Annapolis, Maryland, Siriano won the fourth season of the Bravo’s fashion series in 2007, and he would later go on to received many accolades.
Christian Siriano always knew that he would be a big deal in the fashion industry, and after studying in London under Vivenne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, he developed his own collection in 2008 which became a fan favorite amongst celebs like Zendaya, Oprah, Mary J Blige, Lady Gaga and Cardi B.
In 2016, Siriano won “Designer of the Year” at the AAFA American Image Awards and in 2018, Siriano was included in Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2018. His influence extends across the globe, and if anyone knows how to manipulate tulle, and offer sharp tailoring with impeccable draping, it’s definitely Christian Siriano.
If anyone’s bring sexy back to the runway, it’s without a doubt LaQuan Smith who has become every “Hot Girl’s” favorite designer. When it comes to black designers who are paving the way with innovation and selected techniques, Queens native LaQuan Smith EATS every time leaving absolutely no crumbs.
From celebs like Bey, Kelly Rowland, and Lori Harvey to Taraji P Henson and the whole Kardashian clan, one thing is for certain, Smith is not new to this, but true to this fashion game. He has been a member of the CFDA since 2021, and in 2022 he was nominated for the CFDA Fashion Awards “Designer of the Year.” Although he didn’t win, his brand gained more exposure, becoming an even more highly sought-after brand.
His fashion roots come from his Grandmother who installed a love fo fashion and design in LaQuan early on. Staying true to his New York upbringing, all his designs are domestically manufactured in Long Island City, New York. We’re always looking forward to seeing Smith’s phenomenal craftsmanship characterized with striking cutouts, and the perfect glitz & glam.
French Fashion designer Olivier Rousteing is truly one of a kind, and since taking the Creative Director position of Balmain in 2011, he has created a lot of buzz with his fresh and modern approach. Born to a Somali mother, and Ethiopian father, Rousteing was adopted at the age of 1 and would later discover his full African heritage.
If anyone has brought Balmain the attention that it deserves, It’s Olivier who has incorporated the finer aspects of French Couture into the brand’s line. They say that the devil is in the details and every time we see Kim Kardashian, Beyonce or Nicki Minaj in a Balmain piece, we can see the special illustrated touches that makes each garment a stand-out sensation.
With West African roots that go as far back to his motherland, Ghana, Kwame Adusei is a revolutionary force in the fashion industry, who is forging the future with his electrifying designs. After moving to Los Angeles from Africa to pursue design on a larger skill, Adusei quickly gained popularity among the masses, and created his phenomenal collection in 2021.
Prior to creating the Kwame Adusei label, Adusei actually had a line entitled “Charlotte Prive” in Ghana where he created both Ready-to-Wear and custom pieces for his clientele. Although he now has a new name for his latest collection, the quality of his fantastical creations remains the same, with hints of provocative elegance and edge that always gives main character energy.
Some of our favorite celebrities like Chloe Bailey, Lori Harvey, Kylie Jenner, and Beyonce have incorporated Kwame Adusei pieces into their wardrobe and now that he has opened his very own store in Beverly Hills where A-list celebs can shop until they drop.
Designer Charles Harbison relaunched his eponymous fashion label that originally debuted in 2013 after taking a break from the fashion industry in 2016 to refocus and regroup. Last year he released his resort 2023 collection that was inspired by American painter and sculptor Ellsworth Kelly and consisted of bold colors and eye-popping prints with sizes ranging for 0-22.
What sets Harbison apart from other designers is his sustainability approach which includes making clothes from vintage textiles, organic cotton and eco friendly fabrics. The North Carolina native, who now resides in Los Angeles, allows his creativity to shine through each of his designs which often feel futuristic and ahead of our time. When it comes to evening wear, the Architect turned Designer does an exceptional job at incorporating ruching and draping in the most flattering ways, and his color-blocking ensembles always reigns supreme.
With a slogan, “For Women Without Limits,” Hanifa is a global luxury brand that was founded by Anifa Mvuemba, when she was in her twenties. The self made fashion designer who taught herself how to sew, has a brand that’s on everybody’s wishlist including Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B and Beyonce. Originally from Kenya, Mvuemba moved to the US at age 4 with her parents, and discovered her love of fashion from her mother who had an affinity for clothes and fine jewelry.
In 2021, Mvuemba debuted her first runway show in Washington DC which received positive feedback, and she spoke with Glamour Magazine about how she’s okay with taking her time and doing her own fashion show rather than being apart of a collective like Fashion Week.
Despite iconic figures like Michelle Obama, and Sarah Jessica Parkers rocking Hanifa designs, Mvuemba aspires to work with more self-driven Celebs in the realm of being a Creative Director and not just a designer. We have to admit that Anifa Mvuemba is the blueprint, and a reminder that if you want to make a name for yourself, you can do so by working relentlessly and blazing your own trail. We applaud her for her skillful designs, forward thinking and tenacity.
This year we had our eyes glued to Bravo TV’s Project Runway All-Stars series which included some of the most brightest designers to be on Project Runway over the years. However, Baltimore designer Bishme Cromartie stole the spotlight on numerous occasions with his beautifully crafted and over-the-top designs that earned him the title as the winner of the hit fashion series.
Despite losing his oldest sister to cancer right before the show began, Cromartie gathered his strength and put his all into each of his designs in honor of his late sister. As someone who has been designing since the age 8, Bishme has developed modern techniques to ensure that his garments are thought-provoking and aesthetically pleasing. Each of his designs ooze prestige and confidence, and celebs like Michelle Williams, Coco Jones and Chloe Bailey have shown us the Bishme designs are elevated, distinct, and perhaps boundary breaking.
If anyone had quite a successful design career, it’s certainly Gaurav Gupta who has been shutting down red carpets and the internet with his progressive and avant-garde ensembles. From Cardi B who stunned in a sizzling haute cobalt blue Gaurav Gupta gown at this year’s Grammy’s, to Beyoncé who captivated her fans on stage in multiple Gaurav Gupta custom pieces, the Indian designer has proven time and again of how brilliant he is when it comes to fashion design.
Gupta studied at the National Institute of Fashion Technology Delhi where he earned his bachelor’s degree, and founded his couture house back in 2004. He has become will known for his sculptural silhouettes and intricate embellishments which has become his signature.
In addition to custom couture pieces, Gupta also specializes in menswear and bridal wear, making him a triple threat. From the moment, he kicked off 2023 with his first Paris couture show to now, Gupta has shown us this year that he’s untouchable with his unprecedented designs.
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Stay tuned for Hairstylist of the Year, Stylist of the Year, and Makeup Artist of the Year on New Year’s Eve!