Fashion Designer of the Month September 2018


Fashion Designer - "Franklin Rowe is still an unstoppable force after all these years".

There's nothing quite like a good comeback. It gives people the chance to reinvent themselves and satisfy those consumers who have been nostalgic for their work. After years on hiatus, New York-based designer Franklin Rowe is back with a hunger for more success as he graces the runway of Bronx Fashion Week on September 1 at the mall at Bay Plaza.

His clothes gradually made it to boutiques all throughout the East Coast, the life changing moment for him came when he was approached by music legend Grace Jones. She began wearing his pieces for album covers and TV shows, which lead to other artists approaching him to dress them for their album covers and costuming for TV show series. He credits Jones with giving him his education in leather, due to the opulent leather pieces he created for her.

You could call him a lucky man, or just well connected. The next big moment for him after Grace Jones came when his brother, who used to install luxury furniture for celebrities, helped him put in a bid to dress Debbie Harry. The pink and green flounce skirt dress he made her led to his first international presence, as it was seen by people across the globe.

In the late 90s and early 00s, his pieces became staple parts of the wardrobes of prominent Black celebrities including Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Chris Webber of the Washington Wizards, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Keith David and Boris Kodjoe.

As one of the few Black designers who has been in the industry for this long, he believes that now is the time for him and fellow Black designers to go above and beyond like they never have before.

"Being a Black designer, no matter how much I say my clothes are for everybody, it's time to drive that point home more than ever," he says. "Under this new government, it's time for us to be more driven than we ever have. This administration doesn't like the words poor, Muslim or women, and it's up to us to use fashion to make an impact. If we don't do something to help change the world now, we'll all be left behind."

As for when he'll retire, "When I have nothing left to say," he says.

Franklin Rowe