An integral part of most outfits are the accessories used to accent a look. Jewelry has reemerged as an important sector within the fashion industry. It’s no longer all about diamonds, other gemstones are finally getting their chance to shine. A prominent example of this can be found in the work of jewelry designer Irene Neuwirth. While some of Neuwirth’s jewelry features diamonds they are rarely the focal point of her pieces. Several of her collections have been comprised of opal, turquoise, emerald, and several other precious or semiprecious stones. Neuwirth has discovered a way to bridge the gap between high and low end fashion through the creation of her luxury jewelry brand.

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It’s extremely hard to break into the fashion world and leave your mark on an industry that has so many hard-hitting contestants, that have been around for quite some time. Up and coming fashion designers have one chance to either become legendary or see their last runway. Newcomer, Tanya Taylor has no intentions on seeing her last runway any time soon. With a classic feminine feel and an artistic flare, Taylor has hit the nail on the head.

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Band of Outsiders is a preppy clothing line. But hold your horses, shouldn’t their brand be named something like ‘band of insiders,’ due to the fact that top designers tend to be elitist and make their clothing for the in crowd? After all, fashion is all about setting the standard for what everyone should be wearing.

However, this is not the case for Scott Sternberg’s brand. His company seeks to be something other than fashion. By paying homage to the classic American preppy style, Band of Outsiders doesn’t overtly hit you over the head with flamboyant colors, plunging necklines and big shoulders. Rather, they casually understate their uniqueness through ironic pop culture references that are consciously veiled within their marketing materials and the design of the clothing. Sternberg is the whispering rebel behind this preppy movement and his focus is on a careful hand in the production of his garments. His sardonic vibes have gathered quite a following, including celebrity fans Kirsten Dunst, Aziz Ansari and Karlie Kloss, while obtaining a new idea of preppy.

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How can anyone forget that stunning dress Beyoncé wore at the 2014 Grammy Awards? She looked absolutely gorgeous in her white lace mermaid styled dress. Her dress had a simple flower design that simultaneously added a layer of sexy to her look by exposing her back and elegantly showing off her beautiful complexion and curvaceous shape. It wasn’t a look that most of us could pull off and it wasn’t a gown that just any designer could put together. This one-of-a-kind look is the work of designer and child prodigy, Michael Costello.

Costello was a contestant on season 8 of the popular design competition show, Project Runway. He was also a finalist on Project Runway’s All-Star Season. Unlike most contestants of competition shows, Costello’s fame has exceeded past 15 minutes. Costello is making his mark in the fashion industry and within the next 10 years it wouldn’t be a surprise if he is ranked with fashion kings such as Donatella Versace, Michael Kors and Giorgio Armani.

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Most famous shoe designers are older white men, many of whom mass produce their products. Baltimore shoe designer Tori Soudan is changing the game, she brings shoe designs to life with her own special touch. She believes that shoes are emotional, and not something to be made on an assembly line.

Soudan’s start in fashion began at the age of nine when her mother began teaching her how to make Easter dresses, then as she grew older as a teenager, her mother showed her how to make prom dresses for her friends. While attending Spelman College in 1994, the shoe designer participated in a study abroad program and traveled to Italy. While overseas she developed an interest in shoe design, after witnessing a demonstration by a master shoemaker on the outskirts of Venice.

After graduating from college, Soudan went on to study at the Parson’s Institute of Design in New York, which led to an internship with Tommy Hilfiger. Following these achievements, she earned an MBA in finance from Northeastern University in Boston, so she would have the knowledge to start her own business.

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Getting into the fashion industry is not an easy task. Fashion evolves quickly and nothing is predictable, designers have to be alert and stay on their toes.  Dedication and hard work are just a couple of the attributions one would need to make a name for themselves in the world of fashion.

Those characteristics are exactly what gave two young teens an opportunity to get their foot in the door and turn their dreams of owning a clothing line into a reality. Lucid Footwear and Clothing, was founded by twin brothers Betts and Chet DeHart when they were just 13-years-old. They used the funds they made from their YouTube channel to jump start their brand. Lucid FC fashion label based in Atlanta has gained popularity for its high-end streetwear and eye-catching logo.

“I’ve always not wanted to live the normal lifestyle of working all day and then coming home at dinner time. It sucks. I don’t want to do that. I guess that’s another reason why I do this,” said one of the twins in their Materialistic Documentary, detailing their start in the industry.

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Thirty-five years after having his shop closed for illegal use of luxury brand materials, Daniel Day better known as ‘Dapper Dan,’ Harlem’s hip-hop tailor, has partnered with Gucci and opened Harlem’s first luxury brand boutique.

“[It’s] a sign of the times,” he tweeted as he went on to explain that his new shop will feature made-to-order garments specifically designed for his clients’ unique tastes. But the new shop is more than a sign of the times – it’s a sign of evolution for ‘Dapper Dan,’ as Day is affectionately called— and for Gucci. It’s a shift from traditional expectations of luxury brands and a shift from the man Dapper Dan used to be. But one thing has remained the same: stylist and fashion designer Dapper Dan – then and now – has always been about bringing luxury to the streets.

Born and raised in Harlem, Day’s “eye for style” has always been influenced by a mix of of street life and a love of classic, wealthy attire. Despite being drawn to hustling, shoplifting and gambling as a teenager, Day’s love for a pair of sophisticated shoes from a local Goodwill, helped plant the seed of style in his heart.

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