Meet SSENSE X ESSENCE: The Ultimate Ode To Fashion During Black History Month


If you aren’t familiar with SSENSE, it’s the online epicenter for buying luxury brands and high-end streetwear. Founded by the three Atallah brothers, the goal was to take away the obstacles and headaches that could arise from purchasing high-end fashion and democratize the latest, coolest brands.

More than any other platform right now, SSENSE does curation right. They’re painfully aware of which pieces from new collections are a fit for their audience. They show you what’s relevant and hot right now — prioritizing pieces you’ll genuinely like rather than what’s just being pushed by the brand. Now, SSENSE carries brands of all price points from Adidas to Versace.

Another highlight: SSENSE is known for its brand diversity. They often highlight Black-owned brands and showcase collections from people of color and lesser-known designers. To close out Black History Month 2024, SSENSE is teaming up with none other than ESSENCE: a pairing that makes perfect sense.

ESSENCE, the lifestyle publication geared towards Black women, is helping feature three designers and artists: Bianca Saunders, Mowalola, and Stanley Raffington. The series will showcase their designs and tell their story.

According to SSENSE’s site,

“The two brands are turning ESSENCE’s “In The Studio” print franchise into a video series hosted by Lynette Nylander. The series will spotlight the achievements and creativity of Black designers who have significantly impacted the menswear realm. With three episodes, each featuring a distinguished designer, the series offers exclusive insights into their creative processes and journey,”

Meet The SSENSE X ESSENCE Feature Designers

Bianca Saunders

Bianca Saunders

British GQ

Bianca Saunders’ clothing embraces masculinity in womenswear. Her jackets will always be a bit oversized, or the style will mimic a classic streetwear bomber that could have been borrowed from boys like Jeremy Allen-White and Jacob Elordi — a girl can dream.

“The essence of Saunders' clothing lives in the details, which point to how she subverts ideals often associated with menswear.”

Finding the intersectionality between workwear and streetwear, Saunders clothing is genderless and trendy. Some of her signatures include layered shirts, tucked waists, and somewhat minimalist designs.

@babyboyflame Buying Black: @Bianca Saunders #streetwear #menswear #blackownedbusiness #fashion #fashiontok #fashiontiktok ♬ Oldschool - Cookin Soul



Joyce NG

Mowalola, a highly sought after designer whose pieces have been worn by the likes of Rihanna and Naomi Campbell, is a bit of an icon in the fashion world. Her mantra for fashion is “do what you want to do” and that’s exactly the kind of energy Mowalola’s clothes give off.

Much like Bianca Saunders, Mowalola is known for her gender bending designs. Inspired by cinema, many of her collections revolve around movies. And this is on full display at her cinematic runway shows.

She brings an edge to her designs through textures like leather and intentionally placed cutouts. She’s not afraid to make public commentary on race and gender, making her runway shows incredibly popular.

“The British designer has shifted the cultural zeitgeist with her boundary-pushing collections inspired by the world around her.”

@i_d Replying to @JAC So are we! #ferragamo #maximiliandavis #tiktokfashion #mfw #mowalola ♬ original sound - i-D

Stanley Raffington 

Stanley Raffington


In a world where the Chanel black-and-white aesthetic hails ever-popular, especially amongst those emulating Old Money Style and Sofia Richie’s closet, it’s hard to find designers who aren’t afraid of a bit of color…enter Stanley Raffington.

Often incorporating Rastafarian colors of red, yellow, and black as an ode to his Jamaican roots, Raffington isn’t going to shy away from any hue. He quickly rose into fashion prominency when Madonna and FKA Twigs attended his show, which included 3D printed accessories.

Constantly inspired by his Jamaican roots and the nostalgia of past trends, you will see lots of Y2K nods in Stanley Raffington’s clothing. He’s embraced tech in the fashion world by utilizing 3D printing in many of his designs and runway shows, and he’s not slowing down now.

@yungstanz Process behind my 3d printed curve bag. Taking inspiration from the architecture of Zaha Hadid, mixing new technology with natural materials and craft. Available now exclusively at @SSENSE ♬ Never Lose Me - Flo Milli

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