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Tracy Reese - Pioneers Who Have Shaped America's Fashion Industry

Tracy Reese grew up in Michigan and as a child, Reese’s mother taught her how to sew and make clothes. She graduated High School in Detroit in 1980 and moved to New York City to enroll in an accelerated program at the Parsons School of Design, which she completed in 1984. After graduating, she went on to work at a number of top fashion houses, eventually becoming head of the women’s portfolio for 1980s fashion icon Perry Ellis. In 1996, she launched her own ready-to-wear label, Tracy Reese, which was noted for its femininity and retro-influenced styles.

From the year 2000, she went on to open the flagship Tracy Reese store in New York City and launched Tracy Reese Black Label. She designed for First Lady Michelle Obama, singer Beyonce Knowles and actress Sarah Jessica Parker. Reese was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1990, and joined its committee in 2007, becoming its sole African American member. In 2007, she was appointed to the board of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.


Image: Tracy Reese at the Black Fashion Designers Exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York 2016_Image by Seth Wenig for Associated Press.

Text: Historymakers (2016) ‘Trace Reese’ 2 December. Available at:


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