Today @ Nordstrom Canada, through their New Concepts platform, introduces Concept 012: Black_Space, a collaborative effort forged through long standing relationships between five Black creatives, and Sam Lobban, SVP Designer & New Concepts at Nordstrom.
2020 birthed a global recognition of the need to elevate and highlight black lives and black creatives in all fields for their remarkable contributions. Nordstrom is beginning 2021 with a renewed focus on its commitment to community. With a long-held belief in the value of diversity, Nordstrom is working to play an active role in contributing to the positive change required to address systemic racial inequity.
Designer Beth Birkett, creative director Harris Elliott, stylist Matthew Henson, stylist Marcus Paul and fashion editor Azza Yousif, all contribute a unique point-of-view and introduce brands that celebrate Black fashion and beauty. Concept 012: Black_Space is a dedicated shop developed, designed and curated by Black voices to amplify Black representation. The shop will run through early May, exclusively at Nordstrom Pacific Centre (Vancouver, B.C.) and on Nordstrom.ca in Canada.
Each of the five curators’ selections are distinctly represented through in-store build outs and merchandising, as well an online site experience that includes video content uniquely created by each curator to represent their perspective.
“New Concepts @Nordstrom has always been a platform to tell brand and product stories, with the goal to try and show the interconnectivity between fashion and culture. In line with that, we’ve always wanted to do something which would bring together a group of creatives with whom both the New Concepts team and I have built relationships with over our careers; people who we respect and appreciate for their unique and diverse perspective. Through this process we collaboratively built Concept 012: Black_Space, ultimately with the aim to celebrate Black fashion and creativity through the lens of some of the figures who are helping to shape it.” Sam Lobban, Nordstrom SVP Designer & New Concepts.
The collections within Concept 012: Black_Space feature a selection exclusive to Nordstrom ready-to-wear, shoes and accessories including jewelry that present a varied look into Black creativity and style.
The shop includes menswear and womenswear with prices ranging from $13 to upwards of $2,000.
Of the 24 brands within Concept 012: Black_Space, 23 are available at Nordstrom Canada for the first time. The full list of brands includes: Adeshola Makinde, Ahluwalia, Armando Cabral, Art Comes First, Bephie’s Beauty Supply, Bianca Saunders, Bode, Botter, Bryan Jimenez, Cold Laundry, Come Back As a Flower LLC, Connor McKnight, Coral Studios, Darrell Brown, Full Court Sport, Haffmans & Neumeister, Le Tings, Nicholas Daley, O-Design, Sansovino 6, Spencer Badu, Wales Bonner, Wanda Lephoto, and XULY BËT.
New Concept 012: Black_Space is also available in 12 physical retail locations across North America including Pacific Centre in Vancouver, B.C, Nordstrom Men’s Store NYC, Nordstrom Downtown Seattle, Nordstrom NorthPark Center in Dallas, Nordstrom South Coast Plaza. Additional locations include Nordstrom Century City in Los Angeles, Nordstrom Fashion Valley in San Diego, Nordstrom Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Nordstrom Phipps Plaza in Atlanta, Nordstrom Tyson’s Corner Center in McLean, Virginia and Nordstrom Valley Fair in San Jose.
Introducing the Curators
“This partnership is an opportunity for Bephies to reach a wider audience through New Concepts @Nordstrom, as well as shine light on other women entrepreneurs, empowering creatives from all over the world,” says Elizabeth “Bephie” Birkett, a creative polymath for over three decades in the fashion and music industries. She is undeniably one of the most important women continuing to shape the streetwear movement.
As the founder of Bephie’s Beauty Supply and co-owner of Union Los Angeles, Bephie continually commits the work she does to uplifting Black and Brown individuals, women and the LGBTQ+ community. Bephie’s Beauty Supply isn’t about fitting in, it’s about standing in your own truth and allowing everyone else to catch up. She is introducing her own collection, Bephie’s Beauty Supply, to Nordstrom for the first time.
Harris Elliott is a London-based creative director, academic and self-described “visual storyteller.” He has worked extensively with Japanese fashion brands and exhibition spaces for nearly two decades. He has curated a number of international exhibitions on subculture, among them “Return of the Rudeboy,” which was also published as a book.
Among his clients are the British Fashion Council, PUMA, Thom Browne, British Airways and music supergroup Gorillaz. For Harris, “this partnership signifies creative authenticity paired with Black cultural relevance, and I’m proud to be working with Nordstrom to bring new Black design references and stories to new audiences.” Harris’s Nordstrom curation consists of Art Comes First, Wanda Lephoto, Exhibit69 and Le Tings.
Matthew Henson is a New York City-based menswear stylist. You’ve most likely seen the results of his behind-the-scenes work on your Instagram Explore page, his styling work on his celebrity clients and his editorial work in magazines like GQ, Esquire, i-D and Time. As a fashion editor, he was instrumental in discovering and fostering emerging designer talent, which helped shape his view on the fashion industry.
A mentor once taught him that you aren’t doing “real” work until you’re able to help other people walk the same path – advice he still follows to this day. “When I was an intern and assistant, walking into most rooms within the fashion space was a jarring experience as I was often the only Black person in every room, event, or interaction. I never felt included. I was lucky to have a friend-turned-mentor with years of experience within the industry who shared his knowledge and wisdom. He taught me that we are not doing any real work until we are able to help other people who are walking the same path. When I was a fashion editor, I based my work off of discovering and fostering the talent of emerging designers.
Those experiences and partnerships helped shape my work and my views of the industry. The moment that I received an opportunity from Nordstrom to put the spotlight on a few of my favorite emerging designers, it felt like the perfect partnership at a crucial time in our industry.” Matthew’s Nordstrom curation consists of Ahluwalia, Brownstone, Bryan Jimenez, Come Back as a Flower, O Studio and Spencer Badu.
“Black is the renaissance of culture,” says Marcus Paul, New York-based stylist who has extensive experience working with top talents throughout the worlds of music, sports and art, specializing in image and brand consulting. Marcus’s point-of-view and refined aesthetic have aided clients in using wardrobe to showcase and enhance their personal style during public appearances and day-to-day life.
His roster of clients includes Pusha T, J Balvin, Zara Larsson, Danielle Herrington and others. Beyond styling, he has developed collaborative projects for global brands like Dries Van Noten, Dior, Nike, Google and YouTube Music. Marcus’s Nordstrom curation consists of Armando Cabral, Bianca Saunders, Bode, Botter, Cold Laundry, Connor McKnight, Haffmans & Neumeister and Wales Bonner.
Azza Yousif is a French-Sudanese stylist, creative consultant and writer based in Paris. Born in Cairo, she travelled the world as a child, learning to speak four languages along the way. After graduating from Studio Berçot, she began her career in fashion working for designer Andre Walker, who encouraged her to try fashion styling. Soon after, she was hired at Vogue Paris under then editor in chief Carine Roitfeld.
From 2009 to 2019, she was fashion editor at Vogue Hommes. In 2019 she worked closely with designer Lamine Kouyaté to help him relaunch his ‘90s fashion brand, XULY BËT. She is currently fashion director of GQ France. “I feel so blessed to have been chosen as one of the creatives in this project, constantly encouraged to be myself, share my vision, and decide the story I wanted to tell. I hope that through this collaboration, a wider public will get to know these incredibly talented designers that are so under-documented in fashion history. Knowing about these designers growing up made me believe that it was possible to be black and work in Fashion. Seeing them and reading about them inspired me to believe: Representation matters.” says Azza.
Azza’s Nordstrom curation consists of Sansovino 6, XULY BËT and more.
The collections can be seen here.