BHM - Celebrating Black Design: Designers You Need To Know

October 15, 2022 by Joey Birch

BHM - Celebrating Black Design: Designers You Need To Know


DOB: 19th September 1982

Location of Origin: London, UK

Brand: Big Smoke Corporation, MAINS

Bio: Grime legend Skepta continues to elevate over time. After breaking into the scene in 2007 with the release of his first album ‘Greatest Hits’. Since the release of his debut album, Skep has explored a variety of sounds and styles, which has assisted him further in becoming a cornerstone of British hip-hop, influencing on a global scale.

Similar to his career in music, Joseph Junior Adenuga (AKA Skepta) is in many ways a veteran in the sneaker industry. First collaborating with Nike in 2016 on the Air Max BW, the duo created a lineage that pays homage to a deep-rooted love of all things Air over a 5-year tenure

Big Smoke’s touch reaches beyond music and sellout sneakers, extending into the fashion scene also as he launched his own brand ‘Mains’ in 2017 which featured a set of tonal wardrobe essentials. While many designers would stop there, 2022 showcased yet another one of Skepta’s skills, this time on a canvas with a painting that sold at Sotheby's for over £80,000

In a move that no one saw coming, it was announced earlier in the year that the artist was penning a new deal between his company Big Smoke Corp, a multi-faceted agency, and Puma. While little is currently known about what the partnership will bring, apart from teaser images of the two parties designing what is assumed to be the first signature shoe, the future looks ever more interesting for Skepta. 

Martine Rose

DOB: 24th November 1980

Location of Origin: London, UK

Brand: Martine Rose

Bio: After finishing her studies at Middlesex University in 2002, Martine Rose debuted her first brand titled LMNOP with her friend Tamara Rothstein. Shortly after her first venture was closed in 2005, she went to work on what is now one of the most renowned UK designer brands - her self-titled: ‘Martine Rose’. 

Focusing on menswear, Rose’s brand began making shirts and has since flourished into creating full collections inspired by her upbringing around a variety of subcultures in South London. 

Rose’s brand continues to grow in popularity, donned by the likes of Drake and Kanye West, and her groundbreaking move into sneakers has further pushed her into the headlines. First collaborating with Nike on the Air Monarch in 2019, at the height of the dad shoe wave and more recently on the Shox MR4, Rose has been able to revise two classic silhouettes by reshaping them into something completely different.

Check out more of Martine Rose’s work here.

Junior Clint

DOB: 1996

Location of Origin: Manchester, UK


Bio: Based out of Manchester, Junior Clint has not only been able to teach himself the art of design but also harness his abilities to create a multifaceted brand that brings an authentic retro feel throughout from marketing to product.

Launching his brand in 2018, which began with handmade sneakers made in his university bedroom, has since seen the designer create a myriad of sneakers including his iconic ‘TRL Footprints’ in addition to working with Patta for the first colourway of the ‘Steppers’ in 2022 and opening his first brick and mortar pop-up store in Manchester the same year. 

The ethos behind the brand is intriguing and refreshing, bringing 90s New York and blending it with modern-day UK streetwear. 

Head over to Clints page now.


Location of Origin: London, UK

Brand: Corteiz

Bio: If you haven’t heard of London’s biggest streetwear brand, now’s your time to learn. Founded by the man who simply goes by ‘Clint’ in 2017, the once underground streetwear label has since exploded onto the world stage, it being worn by the likes of Virgil Abloh at the 2021 MET Gala and Drake to name a few.

From monogram print joggers to t-shirts with the now iconic Alcatraz logo emblazed across them, each drop is limited and highly sought after. Screaming London to its core, the rise of Corteiz speaks to similar brands that have since become a mainstay including NIGO’s A BATHING APE as well as Virgil Abloh’s OFF-White. 

Formulating a diehard community, Clint has flocks of fans running around the streets of Europe's major cities just for the chance to get their hands on a piece. One such event was in January 2022 where he hosted “Da Great Bolo Exchange” which saw the founder collect 50 jackets to trade for one of his ‘Bolo’ puffer jackets. 

If you don’t yet, make sure you turn on your Twitter notifications to keep up with the latest Corteiz releases. RTW.

Grace Wales Bonner

DOB: 1990

Location of Origin: London, UK

Brand: Wales Bonner

Bio: Following her studies at Central Saint Martins in 2014, Grace Wales Bonner’s self-named brand was born. What started as a menswear label blending European and Afro-Atlantic inspirations soon developed further to encompass womenswear. 

Known for her skilled tailoring and intricate detailing which told a story with each collection, Bonner entered the sneaker industry in 2020 where she debuted a collaboration with adidas. The collection skyrocketed both Wales Bonner as a brand and also pushed adidas’ now highly beloved ‘Samba’ silhouette with the collaboration making its way to a number of top 10 sneaker lists upon its debut.

You can see the latest Wales Bonner collection here.

Nicholas Daley

DOB: 1992

Location of Origin: London, UK

Brand: Nicholas Daley

Bio: Following his graduation from Central Saint Martins in 2013, Nicholas Daley launched his self-named brand in 2015 and has since been creating a range of culturally inspired collections that explore his Jamaican-Scottish heritage. 

Hosting a variety of exhibitions in conjunction with his fashion shows including the ‘Return to Slygo’ exhibition held at both the V&A Dundee and London’s NOW Gallery as well as having his work featured in the V&A Fashioning Masculinities exhibition, Daley has been able to prove his ability to create art both on and off the catwalk. 

While he has been the recipient of a slue of awards including being the LVMH finalist winner in 2020, as well as collaborating with some of the biggest brands in fashion including adidas, and Mulberry, Nicholas Daley ensures to give back to the community that remains a centrepiece in his work. Further projects include introducing the ‘Meet Our Music’ grant with Fred Perry which provides recording time for upcoming artists looking to make their way into the industry.

For more information on Nicholas Daley, check out his website here

Priya Ahluwalia

DOB: 1992

Location of Origin: Surrey, UK

Brand: Ahluwalia Studios

Bio: Multi-award-winning designer Priya Ahluwalia is leading the way in exploring the connection between her dual Indian-Nigerian identity as well as looking at fashion throw a lens of old and new. 

Setting her apart from other designers, Ahluwalia focuses on reworking pieces into brand-new garments which ensures that no two pieces are the same. Seen as a pioneer in a variety of ways, Priya has received both the LVMH prize in 2020 as well as the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design in 2021.

Explore more about Ahluwalia Studios here.

Samuel Ross 

DOB: 26th May 1991

Location of Origin: London, UK


Bio: Samuel Ross begun his career in product design in 2012 after being scouted at his graduation from De Montfort University where he studied graphic design and illustration. After graduating, his work would take him onto meet and work alongside Virgil Abloh, becoming a first design assistant where he would work on some of streetwear's most pivotal brands including Abloh’s first brand, Pyrex Vision, as well as Been Trill, Stüssy, A.P.C and others. During this time, Ross was also able to work closely with Kanye West.

In 2014, Ross started his brand named ‘A-COLD-WALL*’. Taking a fairly brutalist approach, ACW reflects the disparities and brutal realities Samuel Ross experienced within his capital city surrounding. The brand has since seen an incredible following from loyal fans, garnering collaborations with Nike, Converse, Diesel and more.

Following ACW, Ross went on to debut a second brand in 2019 titled SR_A (Samuel Ross & Associates) which focuses primarily on interior design, architecture and furniture design which plays a big part in the design process of ACW. 

To discover more about Samuel Ross and A-COLD-WALL*, head over to his website.

Eastwood Danso

DOB: November 1998

Location of Origin: London, UK


Bio: Mentored by the aforementioned Samuel Ross, Eastwood Danso is a multitalented designer currently studying Product Design and Central St. Martins. While not formally trained in fashion, Danso has been making waves in the industry by creating garments that apply the unconventional elements learnt from his course and his mentor. 

Having worked with Converse at the age of 18, Danso continues to study and create works of art that explore shape, the human body as well as many other elements throughout his clothing design. 

You can view more of Eastwood Danso’s work here.

Jehu-cal Emmanuel Enemokwu

Location of Origin: London, UK

Brand: Jehucal

Bio: For Emay, Jehucal has allowed him to align his focus with pinpoint precision, creating a brand that has since begun to flourish and become a mainstay in UK streetwear. After moving from the big smoke to rural Hertfordshire, Emay began looking for inspiration to start his brand by researching what his favourite music artists were wearing at the time. It’s here that his brand has created the balance between streetwear and high-end fashion. Everything down to the name of his brand has a finer detail or a deeper meaning. 

Visit Jehucal's page now.

Bianca Saunders

DOB: 1993

Location of Origin: London, UK

Brand: Bianca Saunders

Bio: Named after its founder, Bianca Saunders was founded in 2017 and has seen quick succession after being named the British Fashion Council’s ‘One to Watch’ in 2018 and going on to win the 32nd Andam Grand Prix Award in 2021.

A menswear brand at its core, Saunders explores her British Jamaican heritage through a variety of bold colours and exceptional shapes that have been adorned by the likes of Burna Boy, Lewis Hamilton, Kylie Jenner and most recently seen in Stormzy’s ‘Mel Made Me Do It’ music video. 

Following her 2018 BFC award, Saunders showcased 4 runway shows as part of The BFC’s NEWGEN program at London Fashion Week Men’s. However, this is just the beginning of Bianca Saunders’ journey as she debuted her first runway show at Paris Fashion Week in January 2022 with her collection named ‘A Stretch’. Saunders is speaking to a generation through her carefully thought out designers, certainly making her one to watch.

Head over to her website here.