20 Black Wedding Dress Designers to Know

Looking to purchase your gown from a Black wedding designer? Check out some of our favorite designers with our latest article.

By Shameika Rhymes

Black Wedding Designers to Know
Photo by Kesha Lambert

The First Look ✨

  • Brides by Nona has been seen on several celebrities with it’s custom-made, luxury dresses and designs.
  • Check out The Amsale Group if you’re looking for more of a minimalist, clean line, sophisticated look for your wedding day.
  • Laury Bride has a collection that allows you to purchase separates for multiple looks on your big day.

One of the highlights of any wedding is what the wedding attire will look like, especially what the bride will be wearing. The big reveal comes when walking down the aisle, taking away everyone’s breath and wondering, “Who is the designer of that wedding gown?” There are many designers out there, but when thinking of top wedding dress designers, there are few people of color that are on the list, marking the lack of diversity in wedding day fashion.

For couples that want their wedding choices to reflect their values and support communities of color, Zola is here to help you find options for Black owned wedding vendors—including Black owned wedding dress designers.

Let's take a look at 20 Black wedding designers you should know about for your big day:

1. Andrea Pitter-Cambell of Pantora Bridal

Andrea Pitter-Cambell created Pantora Bridal to address a lack of inclusion and diversity in the bridal industry. According to her website, Pitter-Cambell says, “Each bride deserves to shine, we are inclusive in our mission to deliver the type of product and service that have been traditionally lacking in the bridal industry.”

She also writes that she wanted to create a safe space for brides to feel the validity of their beauty while experiencing relatable luxury. Pantora designs are made for the glamorous bride that embraces edgier trends, but it also combines classic silhouettes and modern details in their wedding gowns. Pantora Bridal, based in Brooklyn, New York, also has a wedding gown collection that celebrates curvy voluptuous brides.

The dresses are customizable and the collection features gowns with various alternative neckline and skirt options. Pantora designs also have illusion details, but with a Black bride in mind, since mesh colors don’t always work on darker skin, so she offers a selection of illusion and meshes linings to fit Black brides.

Instagram: @pantorabridal @andrea_pittercampbell

inline pantorabridal Photo Credit // Joshua Dwain

2. Nneka C. Alexander of Brides By Nona

Brides by Nona was established in 2014 after Nneka C. Alexander's own wedding gown shopping experience left her unimpressed by the selection of traditional bridal salons. She created Brides by Nona with a mission to give brides what they have never experienced, but will always cherish. On her website, she says, "Design is my passion. Brides today are more expressive and certainly a lot more outspoken than in previous years. I want to give them a platform to express themselves without inhibition through the design of their gowns. I will listen, design, and execute with utmost precision and true luxury!"

The designer custom creates dresses that have been seen on socialites and celebrities, including Cynthia Bailey of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”. Based in Atlanta, Brides by Nona offers a curated collection of ready-to-wear wedding dresses and formal wear, but the main focus is creating bespoke custom made pieces made with authentic Swarovski crystals that transcend trends and fads, they are timeless pieces full of intricate details with clean modern lines that will make any bride feel romantic. If you’re looking to create your dream dress, Nneka C. Alexander can help you bring your ideas to life.

Instagram: @bridesbynona

3. Olakunbi Oyelese of April by Kunbi

Launched in 2010, April by Kunbi is the creation of Nigerian-based fashion designer Olakunbi Oyelese. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Oyelese was inspired by month of April and the freshness and newness of spring—and turned that inspiration into a line of custom bridal gowns and accessories that have made her one of the most in-demand bridal designers in Africa.

Instagram: @aprilbykunbi

4. Esé Azénabor

Nigerian born Esé Azénabor started out designing custom evening wear before expanding her line to include bridal options after a client requested a bespoke wedding dress. “The Esé woman is strong, she’s empowering, she’s a visionary, she travels the world and loves sparkle,” explains Azénabor in a video on her website.

She says that every piece is handcrafted, including the beading. The designer is known for hand beading with fine crystals, stones, and pearls, and hand embroidery on fine French lace and tulle, and then combining it with humor, hard tulle, and boning, which attributes to her attention to the arts and travel inspiration. Though mostly known for bespoke gowns, in 2020 Esé Azénabor launched a ready-to-wear line called Prêt Mariée By Esé Azénabor, for brides looking for off-the-rack options with a faster turnaround time.

Instagram: @eseazenabor

5. Amsale Aberra of The Amsale Group

Amsale Aberra was first launched in 1990 with groundbreaking designs, and her minimalist aesthetic impacted wedding dress trends. The Ethiopian-American designer passed away in April 2018, but The Amsale Fashion House is still carrying on her legacy under the direction of her husband CEO Neil Brown, the senior design team of Sarah Swann, and Margo Lafontaine, and her daughter Rachel Brown.

The Amsale Group is one of the world’s leading luxury bridal houses headquartered in New York City. Every design in the three collections has modern femininity but also can be modified to become a true reflection of the bride’s unique and personal style. The dresses are sophisticated and refined with something for every wedding style, including long or short dresses and chic jumpsuits. Amsale Aberra’s legacy lives on through her designs and words, “I believe that true style knows no place or time—more than an aesthetic, STYLE is a way of living.”

Instagram: @amsale

6. Carly Cushnie of CUSHNIE Bridal

CUSHNIE is a luxury women’s ready-to-wear bridal brand designed by Carly Cushnie. Established in 2008, the label was founded to serve the modern woman. The designs are crafted with clean, sculptural lines and tailored to fit the female form.

“As a woman, I understand what my customer wants from her clothes. I’ve grown and evolved alongside her over the past 10 years, and I strive to present her with timeless silhouettes that make her feel sexy, sophisticated, and powerful—all at once,” says Cushnie on her website. CUSHNIE designs are ultra-modern, from expertly tailored jumpsuits to figure-flattering sheath dresses. Her sleek architectural styles have been worn by Former First Lady Michelle Obama, Beyonce, and Lupita Nyong’o, to name a few.

Instagram: @carlycushnie

7. Laurie Underwood of Laury Bride

Laurie Underwood’s Chicago-based Laury Bride showcases her unique perspective on bridal style. Laurie Underwood appeared on season 14 of “Project Runway” drawing attention to her bold, structured gown designs. Laury Bride has modern styles with dramatic flair, from oversized ruffles to airy ball gowns.

Underwood mostly designs bespoke collections, but she just launched The Forever Collection this past fall. The collection features interchangeable bridal separates that brides can mix and match to create a perfect ceremony look and switch it up for a different vibe for the reception. You can buy anywhere from one to three pieces to create customizable wedding looks that are more affordable than two to three different wedding outfits.

No matter what type of wedding dress you want, or from which designer, Zola is here to help you with your wedding planning from start to finish. For more tips on how to get started on wedding planning, click here.

Instagram: @laurybride @xoxo_lauryelle

8. Valentine Avoh

Brussels-based designer Valentine Avoh spent a decade working with some of the world's best design houses, including Alexander McQueen, Alexis Mabille, and San Andrès Milano. She completed her first wedding gown in 2009, and, after falling in love with the handcrafted process, launched her bridal design atelier in 2017.

Avoh's focus is about creating custom couture pieces. "In love with fashion and sewing, my aim is to design haute couture pieces for modern brides," Avoh said in a POPSUGAR article. "I produce all the pieces myself, from sketching to sewing, and making paper patterns. I mainly get inspired by music, red carpets, vintage movies, and everything in between."

Instagram: @valentineavoh

9. Violette Tannenbaum

A self-taught designer, Violette Tannenbaum started designing bridal wear in 2013, after a friend enlisted her help in designing her bridal gown. A self-proclaimed "bridal designer for cool brides," Tannenbaum's gowns and separates, inspired by her ready-to-wear fashion background, are made to measure; she works closely with brides in the year leading up to their wedding on everything from choice of material to finalizing all the details.

Instagram: @violettetannenbaum

10. Yemi Osunkoya of Kosibah

Yemi Osunkoya is the founder and creative director of Kosibah, which was established in London in 1991 and now operates out of Brooklyn, NYC.

Osunkoya has an impressive background in the fashion industry; originally inspired by the weddings he attended with his parents as a child in Nigeria (Osunkoya would spend the hours following each wedding meticulously sketching the elaborate bridal designs), he would go on obtain his BA in Fine Art, Textile Design from Obafemi Awolowo University followed by further studies and diplomas in Menswear and Womenswear from the Paris Academy School of Fashion in London.

Osunkoya is well known for his impeccable attention to detail; his contemporary, elegant designs; and his proclivity towards lace. And while Kosibah previously focused solely on custom, bespoke, and made-to-order wedding attire, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (and the changing needs of brides), the line expanded into ready to wear in 2020. “The world has changed and with so many unknowns I wanted to create a collection that reflected the new reality… the ready-to-wear collection resonated with that," Osunkoya told British VOGUE.

Instagram: @yemikosibah

Kosibah Bride LandscapePhoto Credit // Tunji Studio Photography

11. Cynthia Grafton-Holt

Cynthia Grafton-Holt has an incredibly impressive background; not only has she worked for some of the most prestigious and well-known fashion brands in the world (including Mulberry, Alexander McQueen, and Victoria Beckham), but she's also designed for some of Hollywood's brightest starts—including Jennifer Lopez, Reese Witherspoon, Rosamund Pike, and Lynda Evangelista. Leveraging her wide breadth of experience, Grafton-Holt specializes in creating handcrafted bespoke gowns—and has gained a reputation for her corset work.

"Handcrafting bespoke gowns for high profile clients is an art form," Grafton-Holt said on her website. "My most favored skill (that my clients benefit from), is my ability to create discreet internal corsetry that is supportive, redefines the waistline, and elongates the body."

Instagram: @cynthiagraftonholt

12. Lawrencia Blout of Lawrencia Bridal Couture

When Lawrencia Blout entered Parsons The New School for Design, she only had one ambition on her mind—honing her skills and becoming a couture bridal designer. 15 years later, she has brought that ambition to life with Lawrencia Bridal Couture, her brand of custom wedding gowns and bridal couture. In 2022, Blout added a new service for her clients with the opening of the LBC Luxury Bridal Suite in downtown Los Angeles, where brides can meet with the designer one-on-one and shop her collection.

“Fashion is an art, a true gift," Blout says on her website. "Through my brand Lawrencia Bridal Couture, I am happy to fulfill my destiny and share my gift of design with so many beautiful brides for one of the happiest days of their lives!”

Instagram: @lawrenciabridalcouture

13. Imad Eduso

Lagos-based designer Imad Eduso has been in womenswear since launching her brand in 2015—and in 2017, she expanded on that brand with the launch of Imad Eduso Bridal. Eduso specializes in modern, minimalist wedding attire and offers both bespoke and custom bridal collections.

Instagram: @imadeduso_

14. Keisha Ransome of the lotus bloom co.

Keisha Ransome actually trained as a civil engineer and a city planner—but this self-taught Atlanta-based designer took her passion for all things bridal and transformed it into lotus bloom co. Ransome specializes in bridal separates and tulle skirts that are perfect for brides that want to add a touch of whimsy and romance to their bridal look.

Instagram: @thelotusbloomco

15. Andrea Iyamah

Nigerian fashion designer Andrea Iyamah discovered her passion for design at an early age; Iyamah was just 17 when she launched her brand in 2011—a brand she grew while pursuing her degree full-time.

In addition to her extensive line of clothing and swimwear, Iyamah specializes in bridalwear that incorporates "quality tailoring and rich fabrics often in its signature jewel tones inspired the rich colours of nature," as stated on her website.

Instagram: @andreaiyamah @andrea.oi

16. Gbemi Okunlola of ALONUKO

London-based designer Gbemi Okunlola taught herself to sew at 11 years old—and that passion drove her to start designing and crafting gowns at home before launching luxury bespoke bridal brand ALUNUKO in 2013.

Okunlola gowns are designed to not only be sophisticated and elegant, but to highlight a bride's natural beauty—and bring out the confidence she needs to shine on her wedding day. "A woman should work with their qualities within, to edify her beauty without," Okunlola says on her website.

Instagram: @alonuko_bespoke @gbemiokunlola

17. Jean-Ralph Thurin

Designer Jean-Ralph Thurin’s career spans twenty years. A graduate of Parsons School of Design, he specializes in custom wedding gowns and evening wear with an emphasis on pieces specifically for Black women. His vision is to give a bride what she desires for her wedding day, including making sure that her dress reflects who she is.

“Every bride is different, and I’ve learned to listen, really listen to every one of them,” says Jean-Ralph on his website. Recently, he launched the HUExJRT Collection that has illusion and see-through details customized to perfectly match any skin tone. He also has a collection called ROUGE that is inspired by the 2018 film “Black Panther” that has bold colors accompanied by royal gold accents fit for a queen

Instagram: @jeanralphthurin

inline Jean-RalphThurin Photo Credit // Jean-Ralph Thurin

18. Leah Langley-McClean of elleNelle Bridal

Leah Langley-McClean started her career in accounting, but always had a passion for design. And after designing her own wedding gown in 2015, she made the leap into the world of bridal design, launching elleNelle Bridal, which today, has become one of Nashville's premier bridal destinations. elleNelle (pronounced L-N-L) specializes in clean, contemporary, and sleek styles, creating custom designs for brides of all shapes and sizes.

Instagram: @ellenellebridal @iamleahnicole_

19. Christelle Dominique of MeJeanne Couture

Launched in 2008, MeJeanne Couture is an Atlanta-based fashion house founded by Christelle Dominique as a way to expand her love for sewing and design—and it quickly took off, with Dominique showcasing her work at Atlanta Fashion Week in 2010. The brand specializes in custom bridal gowns; the tagline on their website reads "If you've seen it or you've dreamed it, we will make the dress you want!"

Instagram: @mejeannecouture

20. Adwoa Akwaboah

Ghanaian wedding gown designer Adwoa Akwaboah is completely self-taught—and showcases her bespoke gowns, which often feature elaborate beading, on her Instagram profile.

Instagram: @ajoaakwaboah

No matter what type of wedding dress you want, or from which bridal fashion designer, Zola is here to help you with your wedding planning from start to finish. For more tips on how to get started on wedding planning, click here.

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