EventsThe History of Black Fashion: Where it All Began

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The History of Black Fashion: Where it All Began

1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Harold Washington Library Center


In celebration of African American History Month, the Arts and Music Department in collaboration with the African American Services Committee will be hosting a lecture on the history of Black Fashion in America presented by Melody Boykin, Founder of Black Fashion Week, and Jermikko Shoshanna, designer, inventor and manufacturer. 

This lecture will provide an overview of Black fashion designers both pre- and post-civil rights era, inspiring and informing attendees on the history of black designers in America, the obstacles they've faced, their contributions and impact within the fashion industry in America.

Lecturers: Melody Boykin

Photo Courtesy of Melody Boykin

Melody Boykin is an author and founder of Black Fashion Week and a Chicago Cultural Producer with a formal degree in fashion, marketing and Black American studies from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Melody has worked for several fashion retail companies over the years and currently produces and attends fashion shows capturing and archiving the essence of fashion collections designed by African and African American designers for the purpose of cultural preservation. She has been featured in several TV, radio and print media for her role in the African American fashion industry. She is the published author of the Little Black Boutique Guide, a visual publication spotlighting Black-owned fashion boutiques around Chicago.

Jermikko Shoshanna

Photo Courtesy of Jermikko Shoshanna

Jermikko Shoshanna is a renowned fashion designer, inventor and manufacturer and the first African American female to own and design clothing manufactured in Illinois. Jermikko Shoshanna is no stranger to the fashion scenes in Chicago. Since the late '70s her expansive career in fashion has continued to soar and is well known for high-end fashion coats, suits and evening wear along with labels such as the Possibles by Jermikko and J by Jermikko. Her clothing has been sold to major department stores such as Macy’s, Saks and 600 plus stores around the U.S. A few years ago, one of her hoodies from her sportswear line Swapout Hoodie Athleisure Wear was seen in the Lemonade video worn by non-other than the superstar sensation Beyonce.

How to Attend
This event takes place in person. Masks are strongly encouraged in all CPL locations. Questions about visiting the library? Check out our Using the Library FAQs.

Need sign language interpretation or other accessibility assistance for this event? Please call (312) 747-8184 or email to request accommodations. Requests must be made at least 14 business days before the event.

African American History
Suitable for:
Teens: 13 to 19 years
Adults: 18 and up
Tweens: 10 to 13 years
History and Genealogy

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