Shoppers looking for luxury attire by Black designers now have a one-stop shop for all their high-end fashion needs. Since its launch last month, Maison Black has provided consumers with an online experience to shop Black luxury brands.
“I created Maison Black to build an ecosystem that fosters design excellence and creativity for Black designers. I want to create a destination for discovery where Black designed products are accessible globally. It is our mission to serve the Black designer community in order to create access, exposure, and longevity in the fashion industry,” Nichel said about her New York-based business.
A designer herself, Nichel has held several positions in the fashion industry. The graduate of Fashion Institute of Technology and Michigan State University previously worked as a senior designer at Kenneth Cole. She also worked as a head designer at Tibi, designer of her own namesake brand and design director at Sears Holding Corp. She’s also appeared on NBC’s Fashion Star.
Maison Black currently features six Detroit-native designers who, in October, celebrated the site’s launch with a runway presentation in Detroit entitled “Manhattan to Motown.” The collections include Apotts (Aaron Potts), Kevan Hall, Isaiah Hemmingway, N’Gai (Nicole King), Truth (Sharryl Cross), and SMcGee Collection (Shawna McGee).
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Nichel, also a Detroit native, said she chose “this special crop of designers” because they “bonded through quarantine and created an engaging community of support and shared ideas. Our collective Detroit connection bonded us. Our creative visions we have for the future inspired us.”
The e-commerce only site handles fulfillment but doesn’t dabble in inventory. Retail prices for the advanced contemporary and accessible luxury items range from $298 to $2,600. Nichel’s next big plan for Maison Black is to roll out a digital magazine.
“We will focus now on the [docu-]series, ‘Black Behind the Brands,’ I created and executive produced,” she shared. “This will be Maison Black’s vehicle to share Black stories of the underrepresented, never recognized and amplify their contributions to a multibillion-dollar industry. We intend to disrupt the traditional retail space with game-changing digital experiences that are culturally inclusive for all and expressive.”
For the founder, workmanship and manufacturing capabilities are two important factors when selecting designs for the site. The site’s focus is women’s wear, select men’s wear, jewelry and handbags. Next year, the plan is to expand into home decor.
“Black designers need and deserve a platform and retail space that champions their design excellence and creative expertise while providing opportunity to expand their customer base and/or be a launch pad for their brands and collections,” Nichel said. “I want to help Black designers grow and scale their businesses. Maison Black is in the business of building legacies and ensuring staying power.”