Joanna C. De'Shay

Designer, Black Russian Label (BRL)

Born in Accra, Ghana on the Western Coast of Africa to a Nigerian father and a Russian mother, Joanna deʼShay grew up heavily influenced by the exotic people, cultures, and textures of her homeland. Inspired by both her international upbringing and her motherʼs chic European fashion sense, Joanna created Black Russian Label in 2010 for the global woman who is unapologetic, bold, and empowered by her individual style. 

As the youngest of three daughters, Joannaʼs first foray into fashion came out of necessity when she remade her sistersʼ hand-me-down clothes into her own distinctive style. This focus on innovation, versatility, and adaptability continues to be a hallmark of her collections. 

Using her hourglass figure as the benchmark and inspiration for construction, Joanna designs for real-size women. Fit and fabric are her priorities, and she plays with strong opposites and textures to further empower women to dress the way they feel in clothes that move with them throughout their day. Her designs are created to accentuate a womanʼs natural body shape, while remaining innovative and polished. 

The backbone of Black Russian Label is Joannaʼs belief that fashion is a way of living, and design must be born from an organic, genuine, and authentic place. Armed with both an MBA in Business and an MFA in Fashion Design from the prestigious Academy of Art University in San Francisco, Joanna designs for ALL women and is proud to live in a realistic world of fashion where style is a state of mine and couture can be affordable. 

Joanna the designer is also Joanna the mother. Today, her sons Anʼ Tony and Christian are her biggest inspirations. As both a single mother and the mother of an autistic son, Joanna aims to inspire women with children who have disabilities to boldly enter the business world and continue to live their dream.

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