The new publication showcasing black fashion, style and culture

With contributions from Quil Lemons, Grace Wales Bonner and Kerby Jean-Raymond, Antoine Grégory’s Black Fashion Fair: Volume 0: SEEN aims to “preserve black fashion, style and culture as it exists”

A new publication documenting the style, beauty and culture of black fashion has launched, making space for and exploring the talents of black designers, photographers and creatives in the industry. out today, Black Fashion Fair: Volume 0: VU is the first ultra-limited edition print issue created by founder, curator and editor, Antoine Gregory. It reimagines the essence of the black fashion image through the lens of those in the community with a collection of special editorials; some revisit and celebrate significant moments with black fashion, while others introduce and elevate new names.

“For black designers to thrive, they need spaces, camaraderie and community,” says Grégory, who also serves as brand manager at Theophilio. “Black Fashion Fair is a manifestation of all of these things. I wanted to make sure we have something tangible that documents and preserves black fashion, style, and culture as it exists.

The publication’s arrival was first announced in September 2021, raising anticipation and fostering a community of black talent and those they inspire. The first issue features three cover stars, each photographed by aspiring black photographers who have recently made a name for themselves in the luxury space: Maria Borges and Aleya Ali, respectively photographed by AB+DM, and Joan Smalls photographed by Quil Lemons.

On nearly 200 pages, Black Fashion Fair: Volume 0: VU is designed as a coffee table-style keepsake, delving deep into stories centered around the likes of Kerby Jean-Raymond’s historic Pyer Moss Sewing 001 collection and looks by Edvin Thompson of Theophilia, CFDA Emerging Designer 2021. “I really wanted to take into account the cultural and artistic production that emerges through black designers and black image makers,” explains Grégory. “I wanted to be sure to give them the agency through this project. It’s not something they’ve always had the privilege of having in their image.

When recruiting collaborators, Grégory sought out those who shared his vision and enthusiasm for the future of black fashion and its pivotal role within the industry as a whole. “Fashion has the ability to transform space. I wanted to work with people who were excited about that possibility.

Prioritizing those on the rise as much as established talent, Gregory’s contributors include everyone from Brandon Blackwood, Grace Wales Bonner and Rikki Byrd, to Bethann Hardison, Aria Hughes, Byron Lars, Mikelle Street and Brooklyn White. Quil Lemons, known for his beautiful photographic exploration of black communities, is another notable name attached to the project.

“The launch of Black Fashion Fair is a sign of hope,” says Lemons, whose cover with Joan Smalls exudes black excellence. “I had to be part of this historic moment in fashion.”

History is exactly what the landmark publication aims to build and preserve, with essays, interviews and visual stories conveying the representation of black people in fashion and what it means to be seen in a tangible way. “What I want people – everyone – to take away from this is that black people have always contributed to the fashion canon,” Gregory says. “And that our contributions deserve to be documented and preserved.”

Black Fashion Fair: Volume 0: VU is out now.

Jacob L. Thornton