- Kristopher Fraser |
She was a pioneer of ‘90s hip-hop fashion and she hasn’t slowed down since then. Misa Hylton made a name for herself dressing prominent hip-hop and R&B artists, most notably Lil’ Kim and Mary J. Blige. The latest line item on her resume is fashion design collaborator for Macy’s Icon’s of Style fashion collection that brought in Black creatives to create limited-edition capsule collections that will be released in three drops throughout the year.
When Hylton’s career first began taking off, the fashion industry and hip-hop couldn’t be world’s further apart from each other. Many brands didn’t want to loan to hip-hop and R&B artists because they weren’t seen as mainstream enough. Oh, but how far the world has come since then.
Misa Hylton’s talks Macy’s Icons of Style and the new era for Black creatives
“There are so many more opportunities now,” Hylton said. “Black creatives are now banning together powerfully, which wasn’t something we weren’t doing before. Now, organizations like Harlem’s Fashion Row, Black in Fashion Council, and my organization, the Misa Hylton Fashion Academy, are making sure that Black creatives are protected, educated, and our voices are amplified. There’s been huge changes in the industry, and I’m so hopeful about the future of Black creatives.”
In 2012, Hylton founded the Misa Hylton Fashion Academy because she saw a void for education, mentorship, and skills for people of color who wanted to pursue a career in fashion. She wanted to provide the mentorship and opportunities she got for the next generation of fashion, and it’s become a major passion and focus of hers. Recently, the organization received the Gucci Changemakers Award, providing them a grant to further expand on their mission.
Hylton became part of Macy’s Style Icons when she was contacted by the department store’s vice president Durand Guion to be part of the project and design a line for Macy’s in-house label INC. Both Hylton and Guion have spent years in the industry, both on their meteoric rise to fashion success, but when he reached out to her for the collaboration, it was the first time they had met each other.
Hylton was inspired her dual Japanese and Black heritage and wanted to create designs to mix these two cultures. There was no shortage of colors and prints in her design.
“Anything colorful and printed, especially Asian prints, I love,” Hylton said. “For the collection, I wanted to showcase more of my feminine aesthetic. I wanted my collection to speak through the lens of hip-hop culture and Black fashion.”
Hylton considers it a privilege to be among so many other creatives as part of Style Icons, including Zerina Akers, Aminah Abdul Jillil, Allen Onyia, and Ouigi Theodore. She saw INC as the perfect brand for her to design a capsule for due to her love of color and print.
While hip-hop fashion and mainstream fashion were once considered two separate entities, Hylton says those days of division are long over. Hip-hop is now part of the mainstream.
“Those days of division between mainstream fashion and hip-hop are over, whether it’s said or not,” Hylton said. “It’s all fashion at this point. The bridge the creatives of my day had to cross to get there just involved us being the amazing, talented people we are. People like authenticity. They love things that are different and outside of the box. You can’t deny hip-hop fashion is edgy and exciting. It was only a matter of time. Hip-hop built the names of so many luxury brands, and I’m happy that’s finally being acknowledged. In the age of social media, we are only able to move forward, not backward.”
Hylton describes her Icons of Style collection as for, “Every woman. It’s for the INC woman of course, but I want this collection to be for every woman who wants to feel beautiful and empowered.”
In addition to her recent Macy’s capsule, Hylton is also working on workshops and finding opportunities to bring in fellow fashion creatives to her projects. The first drop of her Icons of Style Collection is now available at Macy’s.