Stephen Burrows: New Jersey’s Gift To The Fashion World

Stephen Burrows designS Burrows and ImanStephen Burrows fitting a model Pat ClevelandStephen Burrows 2

STEPHEN BURROWS is a black American fashion designer recognized as the first African-American designer to achieve international fame. Burrows was born in Newark, NJ in 1943. He is probably best know for dressing some of the most famous and fashionable women during the Studio 54 days.

Burrows grandmother was a seamstress and as a young boy, he spent many hours working with her helping her make clothes. So, it was a very natural transition for him to start studying fashion design. From 1961-62 he attended the Philadelphia Museum College of Art and from 1964-66 he attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

After graduating from FIT Burrows opened a boutique in New York City circa 1968. About a year later, he obtained employment with the Henri Bendel clothing where he designed women’s clothing for that company until 1974.

During his time with Henri Bendel, Burrows won a Coty-Award in 1973 and again in 1977 and a special Coty-Award in 1974. He was one of only five designers chosen to represent American fashion at the 1973 Versailles Fashion Show. In 1975, he won both the Council of American Fashion Critics Award and the Knotted Textile Association Crystal Ball Award. He left Bendel but returned to the company again in 1979.

During the 1980’s Burrows began to step out of the fashion light more. He had taken a very lengthy break from designing but decided to return in the 1990’s. In 1993, he returned to the Bendel line to design evening wear and still continues to work as a designer.

In 2006, the CFDA honored Burrows with “The Board of Directors Special Tribute” award.

Burrows has dressed celebrity patrons such as Pat Cleveland, Naomi Sims, Diana Ross, Miles Davis, Lauren Hutton, Jimi Hendrix, Iman, Cher, Mick Jagger, Betty Davis, Lauren Bacall along with countless others.

His line of clothing includes “S by Burrows,” “Everyday Girl” and “SB73.” Burrows is based in New York City.

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