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Patrick Kelly - Pioneers Who Have Shaped America's Fashion Industry

Patrick Kelly, born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, on September 24, 1954, was a reputable designer who used his collections to convey the depths of Southern American culture on the international scene. He began designing and sewing when he was a teenager and taught himself many of the skills he used throughout his career. He mounted expensive, dynamic and moving shows and garnered international success for his signature jersey garments in bold colours. He also championed showcasing black women on the catwalk and showed 10 extravagant and whimsical womenswear collections under his own label in Paris. In 1988, he was inducted into the Chambre Syndicale: the first American designer to be voted in.

His industriousness and determination played a key role in his incredible achievements. His clothes were known for being colourful, fun, and unusual. Large, bright, plastic buttons were his trademark, but his creativity did not stop there. He decorated dresses with colourful bows, embroidered lips and hearts, and even billiard balls. Kelly’s workmanship reflected a couture sensibility, in particular for his commitment to producing exclusive, one-off designs that were experimental, irreverent, and forward-thinking.


Image: CH2_1989_Patrick Kelly_Image by Keith Beaty via Getty Images.

Text: Singh, R (2017) ‘Fashion Flashback: Patrick Kelly’ 24 February. Available at:,a%20new%20wave%20in%20fashion.

YourDictionary ‘Biography: Patrick Kelly’. Available at:


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