Guests filled the courtyard of Los Angeles’ Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising to celebrate the Black Design Collective’s inaugural scholarship event on the evening of Saturday, April 13th.

Attendees watched in pride as the Collective awarded its first ever scholarship to FIDM student, Devert Monet-Hicksman. 

The $10,000 scholarship was presented by Board members TJ Walker, Kevan Hall, and Angela Dean who launched the Black Design Collective this year with a mission to empower other black designers.

The organization aims to bring awareness of the history and relevance of the global impact of black design through resources, mentorship, e-commerce, and business platforms. 

“We wanted to have a voice, first, to speak about our accomplishments and our successes. And then, as a second initiative, how can we empower the next generation of designers? So that's how the Black Design Collective was founded,” said Walker in a Teen Vogue interview.

The event’s honoree, costume designer for the box office smash, “Black Panther”, and Hampton University alum, Ruth E. Carter, presented the scholarship to Hicksman.

Hicksman, who plans to attend FIDM to earn an advanced degree in Theatre Costume Design in the Fall, is just one of many other talented designers the Black Design Collective aims to uplift.

“We want to educate the students and bring them on to mentor them, but not just mentor them while they're with the organization, but to also track their success and actually guide them through the industry”, said Walker. 

The founders of Black Design Collective hope to encourage their members to participate in fashion weeks around the world to increase their exposure. They also plan to have a web site where people can see all the collections of their members. They will feature capsule collections of the designers and will link back to the actual web sites of the designers.

Primary members, who are black designers in business for five years or more, will be charged $50 for dues for the first year. There’s also an associate membership for black designers in business under five years for $40 annually. The organization is offering affiliate memberships for people associated with design, such as photographers, models, fabric sources, and production, for $30 a year. The affiliate members don’t have to be black. Student membership is $20 a year.

Currently there are 40 members including fashion designers, costume designers and stylists. Among the fashion designer members are Kerby Jean-Raymond (Pyer Moss), Waraire Boswell, Charles Harbison, Sergio Hudson, and Kenneth Nicholson. Costume designer members include Antoinette Messum, Gersha Phillips, Alita Bailey and Rita McGhee. The plan is to assist costume designers within the film, entertainment and television industry, said Hall.

The organization will provide a membership directory, which will include contact information for members to have access to industry professional members including photographers, models, stylists, hair/make-up artists, graphic artists, pattern makers, fabric sources, sample makers, technical designers, financial, legal, bookkeeping, social media and designers.

You can learn more about the Black Design Collective by visiting the organization’s website; you can stay up to date on new initiatives by following the organization on Instagram.