Fashion Designers

Who Says Boston Isn’t a Fashion Town?

Certainly not these local designers, whose mood-boosting dresses, bold silhouettes, and look-at-me prints are the perfect spring wardrobe upgrade.


Photographs by Emmanuel Boakye-Appiah

Styling by Caitlin Dooley/Anchor Artists

Models: Priscilla Ndikwani and Melanie Rodriguez/Maggie

Location: Warehouse XI 

Styling by Caitlin Dooley/Anchor Artists / Photo by Emmanuel Boakye-Appiah

“Gonzaga” two-piece polyester-blend suit, $1,205, and DeRoma by Joe Malaika goatskin-leather bag, $5,987, both Joe Malaika

Lizzie Fortunato “Sea Flower” gold-plated earrings with aqua quartz and freshwater pearl, $265, M. Flynn

Styling by Caitlin Dooley/Anchor Artists / Photo by Emmanuel Boakye-Appiah

Sam Edelman “Hazel” leather pumps, $130, Nordstrom.

Styling by Caitlin Dooley/Anchor Artists / Photo by Emmanuel Boakye-Appiah

Joe Malaika

“COVID-19 was a huge setback for me personally. I had lined up a series of fundraiser fashion shows, including my very first event in Africa. And no one comes to my showroom to pick out a piece or two with their own hands anymore; it looks like those days are over. But my creative process has improved. l’ve picked up some new skills during the pandemic, including illustration, so sometimes l am able to sketch or draw, giving the client an idea of what to expect.”

Styling by Caitlin Dooley/Anchor Artists / Photo by Emmanuel Boakye-Appiah

“Palace” three-piece printed-velvet coat, top, and shorts, $1,999, Joe Malaika

Lizzie Fortunato “Gilded Floral” beaded earrings with mother-of-pearl, $265, M. Flynn

Shoes, stylist’s own

Styling by Caitlin Dooley/Anchor Artists / Photo by Emmanuel Boakye-Appiah

Joelle Fontaine, Kréyol

“For my latest collection, ‘Sankofa,’ I wanted to tap into ancestry and honor the women who came before us and the impact they’ve had on our lives. Sankofa is a symbol and an idea originating from the Akan people of Ghana, symbolizing the importance of reaching back to knowledge gained in the past and bringing it into the present in order to make positive progress. The aesthetic of the pieces is reminiscent of silhouettes my mother made for me as a child. The garments are flirty with a vintage flair—lace details, bouffant sleeves, fabrics that adhere to the curve of the body. It is a celebration of femininity.”

Made-to-order linen peplum blouse, $250, made-to-order pencil skirt, $140, Haiti Design Co. beaded fringe stud earrings, $40, and Haiti Design Co. stacked wood-and-horn bangle, $20, all Kréyol

42 Gold “Linx” leather slide sandals, $140, Nordstrom

Hat, designer’s own

Styling by Caitlin Dooley/Anchor Artists / Photo by Emmanuel Boakye-Appiah

Melina Cortes-Nmili, Lalla Bee

“My philosophy is that I don’t want to follow trends. 2020 confirmed this belief. I want to create collections that can be worn for years to come and in any season—this is why what was meant as spring 2021 will become my 2021 collection, period. Some pieces will be added, of course, for the fall, but the entire collection will continue to be shown for the whole year. It’s called ‘Island Dreams’ and is a summary of childhood memories and events that brought me to where I am today. The clash of bold colors, the flowers I saw every day in my grandmother’s yards, my friends…. If I were to write an autobiography, that would be it.”

Styling by Caitlin Dooley/Anchor Artists / Photo by Emmanuel Boakye-Appiah

Styling by Caitlin Dooley/Anchor Artists / Photo by Emmanuel Boakye-Appiah

“Rosa” polyester-elastane dress, $530, Lalla Bee

Halmanera white-patent-leather ankle booties, $430, December Thieves

Lizzie Fortunato “Ridge” gold-plated cuff, $275, M. Flynn

Styling by Caitlin Dooley/Anchor Artists / Photo by Emmanuel Boakye-Appiah

Nubia Williams, BrandNUbia

“My Hueman capsule collection illustrates the beauty of humanity. We’re coming off a global purge and we are all craving connectivity, ease, and beauty. We are now moving with more intent. Many of us have found our voices and are making impactful statements. This asymmetrical shirtdress features a vibrant watercolor dye, a mesh illusion button placket, and a seamless mandarin collar. The juxtaposition between the white and black body is representative of the disillusioned stark division of race, while the gradating multicolored hem illustrates the human race—multifaceted, diverse, fluid, hu[e]man.”

Styling by Caitlin Dooley/Anchor Artists / Photo by Emmanuel Boakye-Appiah

“Hueman” made-to-order linen-and-mesh shirtdress, $550, BrandNUbia

42 Gold “Linx” leather slide sandals, $140, Nordstrom

Styling by Caitlin Dooley/Anchor Artists / Photo by Emmanuel Boakye-Appiah

Angélica Timas

“Each of my collections tells a story, has a theme, and has a motive behind it. It may be based on an event in my life, a location I visited, the culture, the colors, the food— anything that really catches my attention. I don’t usually sketch collections ahead of time; I find that the vast majority of what I draw doesn’t make it to the runway. Instead, I like to work on a garment and think about what I would wear with this and what I could make that complements it.”

Styling by Caitlin Dooley/Anchor Artists / Photo by Emmanuel Boakye-Appiah

“Vintage Paris” cotton jacket, $125, and “Vintage Paris” cotton ankle-lace pants, $99, both Angélica Timas

Sophie Hughes “Sickle” 14-karat-gold hoops with diamonds, $1,420, Ore

Shoes, stylist’s own