“Black is the renaissance of culture,” says Marcus Paul, one of the five Black creatives tapped by Sam Lobban, Nordstrom SVP Designer and New Concepts. Nordstrom honors Black culture and Black History Month through their newest pop-up shop, Concept 012: Black_Space. New Concepts is a platform that demonstrates Nordstrom’s commitment to bringing upcoming designers to the spotlight by giving them pop-up shops and digital presence, bringing both eyes and dollars to these ingenues.

As the 12th installation in this series, Concept 012: Black_Space is focused on bringing Black culture, specifically through fashion and beauty, to the forefront. Not only have each of the five creatives curated products based on their individual tastes, but they also worked on specific digital content that shares their stories, perspectives, and creative vision as a Black creative working today. The edit features designer Elizabeth Birkett, creative director Harris Elliott, stylist Matthew Henson, stylist Marcus Paul, and fashion editor Azza Yousif.

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For the past three decades, Birkett has been one of the most prominent designers and creative forces working in the streetwear industry. She is bringing her multipurpose brand Bephie’s Beauty Supply to Nordstrom. More than just a beauty brand, Bephie’s is a community engagement tool and support system for Black and Brown entrepreneurs. “Where you put your money is really important to me,” she said. She aims not only to creatively inspire but to incentivize people to buy from small, Black and Brown-owned businesses as well.

The other brands featured and selected personally by the collaborators encompass a range of tastes and price ranges. Out of the 28 brands, 25 are new to Nordstrom. Standout brands include Nigerian-Indian-British designer Alhuwalia, Bianca Saunders, Le Tings, and XULY BËT, a storied French streetwear brand designed by Lamine Kouyaté that Black_Space curator and fashion director of GQ France Assa Yousif has worked closely with on bringing back to the Paris fashion week schedule.

ahluwalia nordstrom black space

On working on this exciting concept pop-up, Yousif says: “Knowing about these designers growing up made me believe that it was possible to be Black and work in Fashion. Seeing them and reading about them inspired me to believe: Representation matters.” That’s the work that Nordstrom hopes to continue to do through these community collaborations. It’s a small step toward creating an inclusive shelf space. Now here’s to hoping that retailers will create more permanent residences in the future.

Concept 012: Black_Space opens February 11 and will be in a dozen select Nordstrom stores across America until early May, and online at Nordstrom.com.


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