Young Designer Celebrates African Diaspora


Even in a climate teeming with young, talented creatives, there are still a handful who stand out from the crowd. Enter Jameel Mohammed, a 23-year-old designer recently profiled in the New York Times. A native of Chicago, Mohammed launched Khiry, his jewelry line, while still a college student in 2016. The help of a $25,000 Kickstarter got the ball rolling, but it was a chance meeting with Daniella Vitale, then-COO at Barney’s, at Penn Fashion Week that really set Mohammed on the fast-track. His line is now stocked at Barney’s and featured in publications including Teen Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Vogue, but Khiry’s youth isn’t the only factor setting it apart. Mohammed—who wears the pieces himself, challenging the idea that jewelry is an exclusively female accessory—is deeply inspired by the African diaspora and plans on keeping black culture at the center of his brand. Not one to stick to a single medium, he plans on starting a digital journal that publishes interviews and articles by black designers. While he describes the venture as “the same way that Into the Gloss corresponds with Glossier,” it’s clear Mohammed is up nothing that’s ever been done before.

For Further Reading

While he might be a trailblazer, Jameel Mohammed is still in good company: Read Vice’s breakdown on rising black designers who base their collections on issues of identity and diversity.


Discussion Question

How do you feel about the idea of Mohammed’s diaspora-inspired pieces being bought and worn by white customers? Does that count as cultural appropriation? Where do we draw the line there?


Action Item

Do some research on creatives in your own network—whether that’s in college, post-grad, or in between. You never know what inspiring projects you might discover.


Read more on NYTimes | Image: Gioncarlo Valentine for The New York Times