I think we all channel that “I’m rooting for everyone Black” Issa Rae energy when we watch competitive reality TV shows. During each season of Project Runway, I’d watch in hopes of witnessing the Black contestants thrive until the end of the series, where they’re able to produce a runway show during New York Fashion Week. Season 11 featured Samantha Black, a Pratt Institute Graduate with her own clothing line. Sammy B Designs embodies urban street wear in a way that screams glamour, comfort, and ease. Basically if you’re looking for a collection of clothes that will set the vibe and shift energy, then you might want to tap into this sassy clothing line.
Samantha’s work was so good she was invited back to participate in the Project Runway All Stars season where she competed against the best of the best from the show’s history. Although her brand was active before both shows, the notoriety propelled her further into the fashion industry. Celebrities like Beyonce, Gabrielle Union, Nicki Minaj and Keke Palmer have all been draped in her designs.
In an exclusive interview with HelloBeautiful, Samantha Black reflects on getting her start on Project Runway and details her journey to becoming the successful designer she is today.
“Before Project Runway, I attended Pratt institute in Brooklyn where I studied fashion design. After that I moved to London where I worked in Alexander McQueen’s design studio. I did that for about 6 months before returning to the states and designing for corporate fashion brands. Eventually I ventured out on my own. Two years after mainly doing very specific designs and celebrity outfits, and building my brand I made it onto Project Runway,” she explained.
Her career has awarded her many proud moments, but producing her very first solo show for New York Fashion Week takes the cake. Unfortunately due to the COVID 19 pandemic, this specific high is one that will look different moving forward. “Runway shows are being held virtually, stores are closing. The demand to support Black brands is on front street. It’s all very interesting. Watching it all play out, and in the meantime it’s business as usual for SammyB with a push for real growth.”
The pandemic has shifted how most brands conduct business. While some clothing brands were forced to slow down and even halt their production, others were able to survive without a hitch. “Strangely, we’ve been doing great during the pandemic and for that I’m grateful. After picketing slightly, I just never stopped and kept pushing the brand and through all of the events that transpired that birthed a real push to support Black brands. We were able to reap those benefits and keep going.”
Samantha fully recognizes the importance of growth within a brand. Sammy B Designs is more than just dressing celebrities, it’s about providing an innovative luxury brand that is accessible to everyday people. This insight has allowed her to focus more on building her brand and e-commerce business. It is a privilege to watch Samantha Black reach new heights in her career. There’s nothing more inspiring that watching a young Black woman walk in her purpose.