Already a red-carpet staple when it comes to shoes and handbags, Brandon Blackwood has received the Beyoncé seal of approval for his expansion into apparel.
Blackwood gained buzz on Wednesday when he announced that it was a “dream come true” to see his custom-designed baby-blue, shimmery gown, gloves and shoes worn by the star onstage during the Sunderland stop of her “Renaissance” tour on May 23. The gown was the latest of Blackwood’s celebrity custom creations as the designer moves into new categories and establishes his label as a lifestyle brand.
“Beyoncé is an icon and someone who really champions Black creativity, so being able to dress her head-to-toe was a true testament to her mission and overall highlighting designers like myself,” Blackwood told Glossy via email. The concept of the look was “reminiscent of Beyoncé’s new Renaissance era, so we made something sexy, classy, fun and powerful,” he said.
The 8-year old brand saw its trajectory skyrocket in 2020 when its “End Systemic Racism” bag went viral, thanks to posts by celebrities including Kim Kardashian. The brand’s bags are now frequently spotted on celebrities and have attracted a collaboration with Starbucks. Shoes joined the brand’s accessories lineup in March this year.
In an April 26 interview with Glossy, Blackwood hinted that “a huge dream of mine is in the works right now” that was going to be “life-changing.” He also stated that the brand’s vp has him write “monthly manifestation papers” with his goals for the brand.
“We’ve passed the emerging phase. I think it’s safe to say we’re not a one-hit wonder, and I think that’s the thing I’m most grateful for. Fashion’s so fickle, so to just literally keep going year after year and knocking it out makes me really happy,” he said at the time.
Blackwood has also designed custom gowns for celebrities including Sheryl Lee Ralph and Serena Williams. He said that Ice Spice is up next. His gown designs are limited to exclusive atelier work for now. “We’re definitely open to more custom moments, as it’s a new category for the brand we want to expand,” said Blackwood.
For his creative vision with his celebrity clients, “my No. 1 goal is to always make something that I know they will feel powerful in. They are all accomplished, record-breaking women and anything I make should represent and reflect that.”
In apparel categories available for purchase, the brand has expanded from accessories into outerwear, which was revealed at Blackwood’s debut fashion show in October 2021, and swimwear, which just launched on May 12. When asked what’s next for clothing, he said, “It looks like ready-to-wear might be on the way,” which is part of his overall vision for the future of the brand.
“I want this brand to be an all-encompassing lifestyle brand where you can own, wear and purchase a full Brandon Blackwood look,” he said.
Blackwood’s signature handbags will continue to be the hero products of the brand, he predicted in an earlier interview with Glossy. “Accessories are always going to dominate. Always. How many times have you worn that sweater? How many times have you worn your favorite bag? Yeah, it’s a very big difference in number,” he said.
With the brand’s jackets priced at $400 and swimwear between $75-$90, Blackwood is planning to keep ready-to-wear at accessible price points. The drop model that he uses for handbags is “trickier,” when it comes to fashion, “as handbags are one-size-fits-all, where apparel is very specific. It needs to work for a multitude of body types, so a lot of thought goes into the design.”