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Fine Art + Fashion, a premier benefit sponsored by Neiman Marcus, offers NBAF a unique opportunity to bring together lovers of art and fashion to celebrate both the talent of established designers through an impeccably curated fashion show, as well as highlight emerging artists through the annual Fashion Forward Student Design Competition. We are excited to host another spectacular evening of fun, fashion, and art where the impact extends far beyond the evening. Thank you to our donors, sponsors and attendees for celebrating the student designers and learning more about NBAF's highly successful Youth Arts Education programs in the Atlanta Public Schools.





Ruth Carter

Ms. Carter is the Academy Award winning American film costume designer known for turning the Black panther superhero into an African King; making history as the first Black person to win in the category and earning Marvel Studios its first Oscar recognition. Carter pays tribute to the people of African descent through her costume design. She fuses traditional and contemporary while incorporating technology to deliver fashion and function - creating Afrofuturistic pieces that empower the female form, honor ancient cultures, and invoke a deep sense of representation unlike any other costumes experienced on screen. NBAF was moved and inspired. by her designs that the 2019 NBAF Gala featured her Afrofuturism theme.

Her career spanning more than three decades and over her seventy film credits, two Oscars and other numerous nominations and awards, along with becoming the second costume designer after Edith head to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2021), Ms. Carter is a true living legend. She has collaborated with some of the most prolific directors and visionaries, and has over the years, designed costumes for characters played by many of Hollywood's most legendary actors, and iconic roles including - Spike Lee, Keenan Ivory Wayans, John Singleton, Steven Spielberg and Debbie Allen, and Ava DuVernay, Tina Turner, Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Samuel L. Jackson, and the late Chadwick Boseman. She is no stranger to TV for the pilot episodes of Seinfeld and In Living Color and to the wildly popular, Yellowstone starring Kevin Costner.

In addition to her amazing body of work, Ms. Carter is aware of her impact on the importance of supporting other Black artists in the industry. She is a member of the Board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Foundation and is a founder of the Mildred Blount Scholarship Fund created to assist BIPOC costume designers. She is devoted to Hampton University where she received her B. A., and to Suffolk University where she received her Honorary Doctorate, Humane Letters. Ms. Carter has received numerous recognitions, honors and awards but none greater than the influence she continues to promote and to extend to aspiring Black artists at all stages of their career in the industry. 



Shanequa Gay

Atlanta-born Shanequa Gay holds an MFA from Georgia State University and a BA from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Gay's recent exhibitions include the European Cultural Centre Personal Structures-REFLECTION, 59th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy, (2022); Atlanta Biennial, Atlanta Contemporary (2021); Le Monde Bossale, Montreal, Canada, in (2021); Adorned, McColl Center for Arts and Innovation, Charlotte (2020); and Holding Space for Nobility: A Memorial for Breonna Taylor, Ackland Museum, Chapel Hill North Carolina (2020).

Gay exhibits her works and procures residencies within the United States, Europe, Japan, and South Africa. She is a Do-Good Fellow recipient and an Emory University Arts and Social Justice Fellow, 2020. Currently, Gay is a visiting Professor at Spelman College, the Visual Artist-in-Residence at Oglethorpe University, 2022-23 and is one of five Georgia Women to Watch selected by the Georgia Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts (2023).





Busayo Olupona is a force to be reckoned with - a powerhouse fashion designer and attorney who has made a name for herself in both fields. As the founder of Busayo, a Brooklyn-based fashion brand, she has created a unique and vibrant style that celebrates her Nigerian heritage and fosters dialogue across the Black diaspora. With a complete obsession for colorful prints and a dedication to amplifying traditional Nigerian culture, Busayo collaborates with local artisans to create dynamic and joyful textiles that are sold at some of the world's most prestigious retailers, including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Shopbop.

But Busayo's impact doesn't stop at the runway. her work has been worn by some of the most influential women of our time, including Madonna, Dr. Angela Davis, Lupita Nyong'o, Ms. Alfre Woodard, and Wunmi Mosaku. Her designs have also been featured in numerous TV and film projects, including Saturday Night live, Only Murders in the Building, and Really Love.

Beyond her impressive work in fashion and culture, Busayo is also a highly accomplished attorney. A graduate of New York University School of Law and the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, she has proven herself to be a true Renaissance woman, balancing her passions for both law and fashion with remarkable skill and dedication.

2023 Fashion Forward Student Design Awards


Jakarie Akhil Whitaker

Jakarie Akhil Whitaker is a junior at Clark Atlanta University, studying Fashion Design and Merchandising with a minor in Art and Philosophy. Originally from Flint, Michigan, he is a two-time Virgil Abloh Post-Modern Scholar (2022, 2023) and a Bridge to Basel Finalist (2022). Whitaker is the Creative Director of the fashion brand Hikari no Yami and aspires to transcend fashion trends by creating wearable art that sparks emotion. 


Yemisi Sanni

Yemisi Sanni is a junior at Savannah College of Art and Design, studying Fashion Design, Marketing & Management. Her cross-cultural experiences as a transplant from Lagos, Nigeria has inspired many of her fashion ventures and aesthetics. Sanni is driven to collaborate with others in connecting cultures and using fashion as a tool to shape a more creative, sustainable, and inclusive future. She is currently the Designer/Style Artist for Stylenspire, a fashion brand offering a mix of Chic and Afro-Contemporary clothing for women, with a focus on delivering quality and uniqueness. 

Thank you to our sponsors!

Gold Sponsors 

Susan B. Been and Tammy Farley





For more information about the event please contact Judy Hanenkrat.

Atlanta History Center

Atlanta History Center, West Paces Ferry Road Northwest, Atlanta, GA, USA

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