All Articles Tagged "Mychael Knight"
Quick. Which of these looks is “high-fashion”? Which is “urban”?
The answer to the second question is none of them, according to Mychael Knight, the designer who created all of them.
“I will correct someone very quickly when they say I am an ‘urban designer’ or a ‘hip-hop designer,” he said. “There is nothing wrong with [designing hip-hop-inspired sportswear], but it’s just not what I do.”
As for the answer to the first question, Knight, who is black, cites an “invisible barrier” that reserves “high-fashion” anointing for a privileged circle of designers—very few of which are black. “Tracy Reese and Rachel Roy - they’ve penetrated that, but I don’t ever really see any placement of them in fashion magazines”—an indication that Reese and Roy are not readily on the mind of prominent editors and stylists.
Perhaps observant of this trend, some black designers early in their careers choose to use white models, particularly for lookbooks, which are prepared for press and buyers, and on their websites where customers seeking high-fashion looks (assumed to be white) can immediately imagine themselves in their pieces. Though Knight regularly casts models of color for both his runway shows and his lookbooks, he can guess why some African-American designers skip over black models altogether.
“When you open up a fashion magazine—a Vogue or an Elle,” Knight points out, “you never see black models. You think, as a black designer, ‘well, if I need my brand [or] my product to get noticed I need to use the white models.’” It’s like high school, Knight explains. “People feel like they to need fit in.”
Model booker Carole White gave New York Magazine the racial breakdown as it applies to models. “Asian girls do really well. You can’t have too many, but they do really well, and it’s quite easy to book them. For Black girls, it is more difficult.” White is further quoted as saying, “[Black models] have to be utterly amazing. There will be less work. It takes much longer to establish them… because clients don’t take the risk on black girls so much.” For this reason, White admits agencies are “very, very picky” when it comes to signing black models. “Maybe you’re not as picky with the white girls, because there’s more work for them.”
With African-American models facing a shrunken market, getting passed over by black designers only further threatens their livelihood. It also perpetuates old school notions of what, and who, represents luxury versus the aesthetic of the street.
Tags:african american designers, African American models, black designers, elle, Fashion, fashion industry, fashion magazines, gelila bekele, high fashion, magazines, Mychael Knight, mychael knight spring 2012, nana ekua brew-hammond, powder necklace, Project Runway, rachel roy, street wear, tracy reese, urban fashion, Vogue, white models
If you’re a fan of Project Runway (PR), like I am, then you know there have been some very talented designers to grace the stage. Now that Season 9 is over, I wanted to take a catwalk down runways past to re-visit some former contestants who made it work even if they had to use pet store supplies, grocery store garments, flowers and foliage or the very clothes off of their backs. You may not remember their names in some cases, but more than likely you’ve favorited some of their fierce fashions:
(The Grio) — As his first New York Fashion Week show slides into the past, Mychael Knight, 33, is already contemplating how he can outdo himself in his next collection. ”I always like to pick up where I left off,” he said, on the rare occasion of a day off following New York’s week-long fashion frenzy and a well-received collection inspired by dinosaurs. Knight says his fall/winter 2012 collection slated for February will be “super Hot and super feminine. ”Bigger, badder, better. Hell yes.”
Propelled to national fame after winning Project Runway’s Fan Favorite award in season three, Atlanta-based Knight boasts a lingerie label and a unisex fragrance along with his flagship fashion label. He is part of a small but enterprising group of African-American independent designers who have understood that a brand cannot be built on creativity alone.
Building a brand is like raising a child, Knight said. “I’m raising it and I want to make sure its integrity is maintained.”
by Mychael Knight of BET.com
Although fall is slowly creeping closer, the current blazing temperatures are definitely reminding us that it’s still summer. Our favorite celebrity curvy girls have been parading their gorgeous figures all over the runways, magazines and award shows, making this season just a little hotter.
If any of you voluptuous vixens are unsure of how to outfit your body during these humid months, we’ve hooked up with former “Project Runway“ contestant and current designer, Mychael Knight, to share his tips.
Fashion designer and “Project Runway” alum Mychael Knight took the ultimate mental health day: Calling in sick helped launch him on the path to being an entrepreneur.
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Read the rest of this entry »
By Ronda Racha Penrice
It’s very hard to forget Mychael Knight’s star-turning performance on the third season of “Project Runway,” Bravo’s juggernaut that has since moved to Lifetime. Young, black designers aren’t quite as visible these days. Yes, hip-hop clothing lines have become a norm but even then, it’s the rapper backing the line that gets the spotlight, not the designer. Mychael Knight is a throwback to Patrick Kelly and Bryon Lars in the sense that they too primarily designed women’s clothes and gained recognition in the predominantly white fashion industry. How he has done it, however, is very twenty-first century.
A military brat, Knight was born in Germany and raised in various parts of the U.S., with major stops in Montgomery, AL and Augusta, GA. He attended Georgia Southern University in Statesboro near Savannah and relocated to his now home base of Atlanta after graduation. The interest in fashion came early and organically.
“For me, [designing] was really like God-given because at the age of nine I just started sketching out of the blue,” said Knight. “One day I was just home and I was living in Augusta at the time and was watching TV. I saw something on TV and I thought ‘ooh that was cool’ and I started designing. That’s exactly how it happened.”
His parents encouraged his talent, as did his high school art teacher. “My parents definitely supported a lot. Whether it was just buying me fashion magazines or illustration supplies so I could draw or whatever it was, they just made sure they nurtured that interest,” he said. “In high school my art teacher knew that I had an interest in fashion so she actually created a special studies class for me on fashion illustration.”
At Georgia Southern, Knight really began cultivating his craft. The school didn’t have the biggest name or the most fashion-centric location, but its instructors and friendly budget suited Knight’s needs. He made the most of every opportunity, designing for the dance team and school fashion shows, not to mention his fellow classmates. The trend of turning jeans into jean skirts really kept him busy. “I wasn’t even thinking I am a fashion designer — I was thinking I need to eat. I knew I could make a dress, so why not?” he reflected.
Eventually he did begin to see himself as a designer and his senior show emerged as a pivotal moment. “The show [normally consisted of] about six pieces but I decided to do a thirty piece collection, which was the first ever at the school,” said Knight. “I completely produced the whole show myself, cast my own models, trained the models, put on bake sales and wing sales on campus to make money to buy fabric.”
Relocating to Atlanta convinced Knight that he was not only a designer, but an entrepreneur. With the exception of an internship with Wilbourn Exclusive, a custom-design firm, and a three-month stint at a collection agency, Knight has always worked for himself. The permanent shift to self employment was unplanned. As Knight explained it, he got sick one day and called off of work. The next day, he felt better but still didn’t go to work. By the third day, they called him and asked if he was coming back and he said no.