A New Book Offers a Whirlwind Tour of 100 Years of Black Design

Ann Lowe with the First Lady Doll. Image courtesy of Charlene Prempeh, the J.Paul Getty Trust, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture.

During a brainstorming session with her creative agency A Vibe Called Tech, Charlene Prempeh discovered Ann Lowe, the Black designer who created Jacqueline Kennedy’s wedding gown. It was no accident that she had never heard of her before. In 1961, Ladies’ Home Journal reported that the gown had been designed by “a colored woman dressmaker,” but did not name Lowe. The designer’s story prompted Prempeh to consider the many influential Black creatives who had been not passively overlooked by history, but willfully excluded from it.

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