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What is Nordstrom’s “Black_Space”? Nordstrom’s New Program Brings Together Black Designers and Designers

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The hope behind the New Concepts series at Nordstrom has always been “that our customers can find something new,” says Sam Lobban, senior vice president of the store at Designer and New Concepts. And this idea of ​​discovery plays a central role in the twelfth edition of the program, entitled “Black_Space”, in which five black creatives – Harris Elliott, Beth Birkett, Matthew Henson, Marcus Paul and Azza Yousif – worked to create a vast boutique – in a shop full of black designer items. Of the 28 brands included, 25 are new to Nordstrom.

“The curators selected brands that they liked and saw as a representation of black fashion and black creativity,” Lobban says. “We have worked closely with each of them to develop their product assortment, while allowing them to take the reins to authentically convey their point of view and showcase brands and products that celebrate black fashion and beauty. “

In this spirit, Squire spoke with four of the curators involved in the project to explain why they wanted to get involved and how they hope it will help change the future of fashion. Here is what they had to say.

Harris Elliott

Harris Elliott

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Why did you want to get involved in this project?

It was an opportunity to tell authentic stories through a black lens and shed some light on some newer brands like Wanda Lephoto from Johannesburg and Exhibit 69 from London which otherwise would never get this type of platform.

How do you hope this will help shape the fashion industry in the future?

I believe that many brands fear to truly engage in black culture because an impartial and nuanced context of black experiences is not taught or widely shared in education or the media. Black culture should be reflected without bias. Brands will often symbolize black references in order to appear culturally relevant. I hope Concept 012: Black_Space encourages fashion industry players to start addressing racial imbalance and celebrating black narratives, as they have now seen that this project is powerful, relevant and engages a wide range. public.

Beth birkett

Beth birkett

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Why did you want to get involved in this project.

The opportunity to be part of Concept 012: Black_Space was a great way for me to introduce Bephies Beauty Supply and collaborate with all the Black and Brown brands by women and people who are usually not in these spaces and who are extremely talented. Melody Ehsani from Los Angeles, L’Enchanteur from New York, Studio One Eighty Nine made in Ghana, NorBlack NorWhite from India, Sativa Wellness and Jersey Shore from New Jersey, Ceylon and LIHA based in London and Neverending Balloon from Los Angeles. A lot of Bephies Beauty Supply’s products have a black girl image on them, which is really powerful in Nordstrom. We never see each other. Black women are some of the most undervalued women in the world, so being able to have the opportunity to change that image is why I’m doing this.

How do you hope this will help shape the fashion industry in the future?

Hope people get the chance to see new and exciting brands, from Marcus Paul’s collaboration with Haffmans & Neumeister to Le Tings and Bephies Beauty Supply. You will not be disappointed.

Matthew henson

Matthew henson

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Why did you want to get involved in this project?

Sam Lobban is someone I have known and respected for more years than I want to share, and when he contacted me about this partnership, I immediately started thinking about brands and designers. to highlight and include. I wanted to get involved because the industry is tough, one-sided and we are living in a pandemic. Supporting emerging designers and small businesses is crucial during this time.

How do you hope this will help shape the fashion industry in the future?

This project focused on black creatives, creators, designers, in itself, helps shape and recreate the exclusionary narrative that fashion has carried since its inception.

Marcus Paul

Marcus Paul

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Why did you want to get involved in this project?

I was part of this project because before there had been no initiative like this at Nordstrom. They provided a platform to foster collaboration, which led to a sharing of perspective and narrative. In addition, this is an opportunity for me to help black designers and designers looking to partner or start their own business in the fashion industry.

How do you hope this will help shape the fashion industry in the future?

I hope fashion industry leaders take a look at black visionaries who can take leadership positions in all aspects of fashion and partner with black-owned businesses, in order to ” incorporate more creative stories.


Jonathan Evans is Esquire’s Style Director, covering everything to do with fashion, grooming, accessories and, of course, sneakers.

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