FASHION DESIGNER & FOUNDER, THE AMSALE GROUP
The late Ethiopian-American fashion designer and entrepreneur was the founder, co-owner, and creative director behind the Amsale fashion label. Rejecting the over-the-top wedding gown options in the 1980s, she decided to design her own wedding dress. That move led to the launch of her namesake business, which specialized in custom-designed wedding dresses—an area in which black female designers were absent. The Fashion Institute of Technology graduate, who cut wedding gowns on her kitchen table, landed her first wholesale account with iconic Brooklyn-based bridal retailer Kleinfeld. Gaining exposure from a New York Times article, her business took off with school teachers to socialites and Hollywood stars like Halle Berry, Heidi Klum, Salma Hayek, Vivica Fox, and Gayle King wearing her creations.