Celebrating Black Designers: A Centerpiece of Black History Month 2022

Karen Boykin-Towns and Kevan Hall

This year’s Black History Month brought us an array of creative initiatives. One is from the many businesses that are providing opportunities for Black entrepreneurs to showcase and grow their talents. Several brands and retailers, for example, are highlighting the work of exceptional fashion designers who happen to be Black. I’m so pleased that two designers whom I know personally — and fervently admire — are in the promotional spotlight.

Dr. Jacqueline “Jackie” Dow, owner of J. Dow Fitness, was selected to participate in the Black Beyond Measure Collection at Target. Her apparel brand, a colorful combination of activewear, athleisure apparel, and fitness accessories, is available on Target’s website and in more than 1,200 stores. For this special showcase, Jackie designed an exclusive limited edition line, including a graphic crop top with matching leggings, bodysuit, biker shorts, and tank top, rendered in shades of bright pink and coral orange. In a nod to inclusivity — in this case, shape inclusivity! — all selections are available in sizes XS to 3XL.

I am a huge Jackie fan. Several of her dynamic designs hang at the front of my closet. I know I’m in good company, as actress and author Tabitha Brown, who wrote the #1 New York Times bestseller Feeding the Soul and last week won a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, was recently spotted on Instagram wearing one of Jackie’s Target creations.

Another friend in high-fashion circles, Kevan Hall of Kevan Hall Designs, is well known for his red carpet ensembles. His designs have been featured on numerous television shows and worn by celebrities and fashion icons, from Michelle Obama to Celine Dion. Besides being a distinguished American designer, Kevan has achieved global recognition as the co-founder of Black Design Collective. This group of influential Black leaders in fashion is committed to amplifying the influence of, and creating opportunities for, Black apparel, accessory, and costume designers. They are well on their way!

I was thrilled to wear designs from the Kevan Hall Collection during the NAACP Image Awards week. Here are just a few pics.

For those of us who want style for any occasion but at a lower price point, Kevan has joined forces with Saks Off Fifth with seven pieces from Kevan Hall Studio. I recently visited saksoff5th.com and purchased a lace front, belted ‘little black dress” which is perfect for just about any occasion.

Please check out my two incredible designer friends, Jackie and Kevan, in the links provided above.

Black History Month is an opportunity to understand our past while celebrating the positive contributions of those who have been largely ignored. Let’s all commit to creating new paths to advance our communities — and make Black History not just 28 days of the year, but every day, in every way.


Karen Boykin-Towns serves as vice chair of the NAACP National Board of Directors and committee chair of the Image Awards. She is also a distinguished strategist who has forged a reputation as a global business and civic leader.

#AmericanDesigners #BlackDesigners #Fashion #BlackDesignCollective #BlackHistoryMonth #BlackHistory365 #NAACPImageAwards, #KevanHall, #J.DowFitness



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