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MEET SAMANTHA BLACK:
A fashion designer with a New York state of mind. Samantha Black got her start working for designers like Michael Kors and Jill Stuart before designing her own collection, SammyB. Highlighting a mix of vibrant prints and bold colors, her collection is a love letter to The City.
Mae Jones was thrilled to feature a piece from her collection in the September Editorial. Keep reading to get to know a little more about Samantha and her design inspiration.
MJ: Tell us how you got your start in fashion design?
SB: I studied fashion design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.
While in school I interned for a few designers, including Michael Kors and Jill Stuart. Then, I worked designing for brands for a few years before starting SammyB.
MJ: What inspires you and your creative process?
SB: My constant inspiration is the energy of NYC. Its energy and DNA. From there, I add how I’m feeling at the moment, trends, etc. I’m constantly sketching. Sometimes those designs never come to life and sometimes they do. If a fabric inspires me, that’s usually the designs that will come to life.
SammyB Designs featured in the Mae Jones September Editorial
MJ: How does your personal style affect your design work?
SB: I am my brand. I design for me and women like me in different stages of life but keeping true to my essence.
MJ: You’ve designed some amazing pieces, can you tell us about one project that you're especially proud of and why?
SB: My Kingston917 collection. It was a mash-up of my Jamaican heritage and New York City. The two things that have made me who I am today. I just loved it! It also had a good combo of, sexy, cool, and innovation.
Beyonce and Gabrielle Union wearing SammyB Designs
MJ: Why is Black representation in fashion (in front of and behind the camera) important?
SB: It’s absolutely important. Other black people need to see that we can be in any space we want, without limitations and as well as running the show. And behind the scenes to make sure we are being represented properly, accurately, and in an uplifting way when needed. So that our stories are told from the source, may it be in schools, boardrooms, photoshoots, courtrooms, etc.
MJ: What is one of the biggest hardships for Black designers in the fashion industry and what can be done to solve the problem?
SB: Money! Unfortunately, most Black designers don’t come from money and don’t have the resources and/or business support. More grants would help. Free fashion business classes and support, especially from successful industry people, would make a world of difference.
MJ: If you had to give one piece of advice to a young Black creative aspiring to follow in your footsteps, what would it be?
SB: It would be to block out the noise and remain consistent.