Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke was, arguably, the first soul singer and an enormously influential figure in the genre, not the least for his innovative musical contributions. Cooke’s styling choices showed an acute awareness of image creation and marketing, but also an evolving identity:

Black and white photograph of Sam Cooke wearing a cardigan while recording a song

Isaia Rankin

American fashion tends to have a short memory for past designers, but Isaia Rankin’s influence is abundantly evident in contemporary fashion, from designer sweatshirts, to layered separates that play with volume, and functional, yet sexy, knit dresses and leggings. Furthermore, his position as a Black designer and businessman is important to emphasize in an industry that too often overlooks designers of colour.

News clipping of Isaia Rankin and a model from the August 3, 1988 issue of Women's Wear Daily