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Black Excellence in Fashion: A look at Ann Lowe and her impact of black women in fashion design.

The fashion industry is an ever changing and evolving industry, and Black creators have played a large role in the evolution of said industry.

In the 1800’s, enslaved people were forced to spend their days picking cotton to contribute to the production of textiles made for clothing and such. Now, Black leaders have taken the fashion world by storm, and are among some of the most prominent names in the industry.

Ann Lowe was the granddaughter of a formerly enslaved dressmaker, and the daughter of an embroiderer, taking the skills of her loved ones, she took over her mothers position making clothes for the first family of Alabama after she died. Lowe was only 16 years old when she took over her family business.

When Lowe got married, her husband heavily encouraged her to give up her seamstress work, and she did for a short period of time, but left him shortly after to work in Florida, bringing her son and future business partner with her.

After spending ten years in Florida, Lowe travelled to New York to take proper sewing classes. She was the only Black student in her classes, and was segregated from her classmates, but she did not let this get in the way of her dreams.

Once she graduated, she moved back to Florida for a few years before she saved up enough money to open up her own shop in New York City. She catered mostly to social elites, one of her highest profile clients being Jaqueline Bouvier, designing her wedding dress to marry John F. Kennedy. Unfortunately, Lowe did not receive much credit for her work, as when Kennedy was asked who made her dress, she simply responded stating that a Black woman had made it, not actually naming Lowe.

Lowe went underpaid for her work, only receiving a small fraction of what a white woman would have made for the same work. Despite her hardships and roadblocks, Lowe did not let anything deter her from her dream, although she eventually went bankrupt following the death of her son. Lowe’s sacrifices made it possible for Black designers to have a place in the ever-evolving fashion industry.

Sources: FIT, L’Officiel

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