Students Express Black Brilliance in Macy’s Window Designs

student designers of Black History Month themed Macy's store windows
From left: Dontay Grant, Hillary Bell, D’visqua Daniel, Jordan Rush, and Keanu Williams. Photo: Kent Miller, Kent Miller Photography.
front of Macy's at night
Photo: Bill Waldorf, Waldorf Photography.

In honor of Black History Month, five Black FIT students had the honor of designing windows for Macy’s Herald Square. The theme, “Black Brilliance,” is expressed through the minds of these creatives studying Fashion Design, Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design, and Graphic Design. 

The project began in December, when Macy’s visual window manager, Andi Woung, connected with Anne Kong, associate professor of Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design, to plan a multidisciplinary student collaboration. Under Kong’s mentorship, the students worked for 10 days through the winter holiday break. Collaborating with Woung virtually, each student provided creative direction while Macy’s brought their vision to life. The window designs are on display along West 34th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues through March 1.

Meet the five students who embody Black Brilliance:

Photo: Bill Waldorf, Waldorf Photography.

Hillary Bell, @hbell.pdf, Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design ’23

“For my window, I showed a figure (representing myself) emerging out of the ground with others following behind it. This represents the future of Black designers (that look just like me!) that will continue to make their mark on this industry.”

Macy's window designed by Dvisqua Daniel
Photo: Bill Waldorf, Waldorf Photography.

D’visqua Daniel, @stitchedobsession, Fashion Design ’22

Black brilliance is the cultivation of brilliant Black minds harnessing their creativity, talent, and varied styles to unleash their true potential through hard work and dedication—while maintaining expressive freedom.

“My inspiration for the display window was influenced by the colors of the St. Kitts national flag. The colors symbolize what our ancestors fought for, which made it possible for Blacks to celebrate Black History month. Green signifies our fertile soil, while red represents the blood our forefathers shed for their freedom. Additionally, yellow is for our year-round sunshine, black represents our African heritage and white epitomizes hope and liberty. The significance of these colors led me to portray them in my window display to bring awareness and to acknowledge my Kittitian roots.”

Macy's window designed by Dontay Grant
Photo: Bill Waldorf, Waldorf Photography.

Dontay Grant, @dontaysinfern0, Menswear ’22

Throughout this process, I learned how much I thrive in situations such as this one. Knowing that the end goal was ultimately a chance to showcase my talents gave me so much more confidence and drive; and given everything I’ve been through to get to this point in my journey, it really makes me happy to see results from the work I’ve put in.

I wanted to capture a sense of Black history by incorporating African folk art. I utilized the colorful and vibrant styles on the centerpiece of my three looks, which features a quilted puffer jacket showcasing a self-portrait. I figured the best way to highlight representation would be to represent myself, so that’s what I did. The other two looks represent my signature design styles, with an aim to complement the centerpiece.

Macy's window designed by Jordan Rush
Photo: Bill Waldorf, Waldorf Photography.

Jordan Rush, @jordanrushdesign.indd, Graphic Design ’23

Having my designs displayed at Macy’s for Black History Month is awesome, to say it plainly. It feels beyond amazing to be recognized as a Black woman in graphic design because my field is so underrepresented by Black creatives. This is a milestone and I feel such an inspiration to continue to excel and evolve as a designer.

My immediate thought for the window designs was to communicate an emergence of color from white space. For my window, I focused on the words, ‘Take Risk, Create Change,’ because that is something that drives me to create and is a statement that I keep in mind when I don’t feel motivated. All of the design elements from the fashion to the lighting, to the graphics, created a radiant space that really does show our brilliance.

“Throughout the designing process we all came up with so many concepts that centered around an ‘emergence of color’ and eventually we came to our final result. It was definitely important to convey the message of being Black designers in white-dominated fields.

Macy's window designed by Keanu Williams
Photo: Bill Waldorf, Waldorf Photography.

Keanu Williams, @_k.nassia_  Fashion Design ’23

Black brilliance cannot be defined in one way. Black brilliance is a personal journey that connects the ideas and the struggles of past Black advocates with the new changemakers of today. It is the harnessing of one’s individual power. The motivation and devotion to become one’s strongest self, to overcome all challenges and push boundaries, creating more opportunities and spaces for other Black creatives.

I wanted to show the viewers exactly who I am and what I represent. I was inspired to create looks that conveyed the feelings of strength, beauty, and energy. I also took inspiration from the ’80s with the color palette, because this era was full of energy, structure, and power. These pieces were made to empower the wearer to be bold, loud, crazy, glamorous, and always their most extra self.”

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