Black Excellence in Accessories: Designers Setting the Trends


Dec. 13 2023, Updated 3:08 a.m. ET

Accessories are the soul of fashion. The right accessory transforms an outfit, elevates a look, and speaks volumes about personal style.

Today, the fashion accessories industry has undergone a remarkable transformation, and Black designers are front and center.

These geniuses are not designing mere embellishments — they are creating adornments that pay homage to their culture and artistic ingenuity.

Let's check out some of the top Black designers leading in accessories and what they're contributing to the industry.

The Best Black Accessory Designers You Should Know

With names like Telfar, Third Crown, and Mateo, we have some iconic accessories from the most inspiring black American and African designers.

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Telfar Clemens

You can’t spend too long on social media before you see a Telfar tote. The famous vegan leather accessory (available in three different sizes) is currently the bag of the moment on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.

Born to Liberian parents, Telfar Clemens also puts an avant-garde spin on staples (like cable-knit Converse Chuck Taylors). He is making velor tracksuits back in fashion and styling t-shirts with graphic prints.

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In short, this Black designer should be on your radar as, in a short time, he has become one of the top handbag designers in fashion history.

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Akosua Afriyie-Kumi

A Ghanaian designer, Akosua Afriyie-Kumi focuses on creating woven accessories, especially handbags. She started AAKS to show the world her favorite weaving techniques used by women from Ghana and to create sustainable jobs in Africa.

Her bag is handmade and made from organically harvested raffia from farming families in Ghana.

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Matthew Harris

Elegance and minimalism are the essence of Mateo, the New York-based luxury jewelry brand led by Black designer Matthew Harris. It is the perfect brand to find treasures that will be passed down from generation to generation.

Born to a seamstress mother in Jamaica, Matthew first discovered jewelry making when he relocated to New York City. He was only 16 and at first, the designer launched a men’s jewelry business, creating pieces he wanted to wear.

But after a reorganization in 2014, Matthew shifted his focus to women’s jewelry. His designs can now be seen on major celebrities such as Zendaya and Rihanna.

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Kristin and Kofi Essel

Third Crown is the Harlem-based jewelry brand run by married couple Kristin and Kofi Essel. Bridging the gap between everyday jewelry and statement accessories, the couple designs sculptural pieces that are bold and easy to wear. From pendant green to dark, amethyst, and aventurine, there is something for everyone.

Stars like Beyoncé and Solange Knowles already have their eyes on this Black-owned business. If you haven’t by now, you should also look out for it.

These visionary Black designers continue to infuse their diversity into the fashion world. As we continue to celebrate their craftsmanship, we should also dutifully amplify their voices and recognize their contributions.

If we don't celebrate our own, who will?

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