In partnership with Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design, acclaimed Black Panther: Wakanda Forever costume designer and HBCU Alum Ruth E. Carter created the “Icons of AfroFuture” Design Challenge to promote and uplift designers from historically Black colleges and universities. Four up and coming designers were awarded the title, and will have their designs come to life as Carter will wear them at a number of appearances, including the NAACP Fashion Show, Awards Dinner, and Image Awards Ceremony, as well as the 25th Costume Designers Guild Awards.
Carter is already a legend in the costume design field, being the first Black person to win the Academy Award in the category for her work in the Black Panther franchise, also earning Marvel Studios its first Oscar. On her joint venture of curating the challenge to uplift new talent, Carter stated:
“Afrofuturism is innovative and creative; it’s being artistic, visionary and inspired. […] It’s knowing you can influence change in someone’s life by helping them see their potential.”
The young fashion visionaries, Cresseide Jacques, D’on Lauren Edwards, Irueosa Osadayi Ohanmu, and Keanu “King Nu” Williams were chosen based on their unique stylish visions that bring to life the essence of Afro-futurism.
Pensole Lewis college expressed high regards for the creators and the competition itself, sharing that they “are able to provide opportunities that elevate these aspiring creatives to realize their dreams of becoming the future of fashion and costume design.”
The challenge was also produced with Archtoculture, a creative agency dedicated to uplifting marginalized yet trailblazing entrepreneurs to gain equal access to opportunities.
The designers were handpicked by Carter herself, and is the first iteration of creating a pipeline for HBCU talent to be presented on a global stage, with future challenges in collaboration with the famed designer to be in the works given the success of “Icons of AfroFuture.”
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