A Black Woman Designed the Wedding Dress for John F. Kennedy's Bride, Jackie

Ann Cole Lowe

Although fashion design is one of the most diverse and creative industries in America today, it wasn't until the 1920s that the first African-American female fashion designer came to light. Ann Cole Lowe was born to a family of slaves with a history of tailoring the clothes of their plantation owners.

With this experience, she made a name for herself that made her work greatly desired by countless prominent American women. Even as a teenager, according to BlackPast, Lowe was commissioned by women across the southern states to design dresses and ballgowns. She later took her career into formal schooling at the St. Taylor Design School, a segregated school that forced Lowe to attend classes alone.

She never gave up, however. In fact, after her graduation, Lowe opened her own salon, "Ann Lowe's Gowns." Her name spread like wildfire among politicians and prominent white families of the 1950s. But what might have been her greatest accomplishment was a commission made to her by future First Lady, Jacqueline "Jackie" Bouvier. This commission was for the dress she would wear to her wedding with Senator John F. Kennedy.

Lowe's style captured the attention of many because of this. However, her clients would later dishonor her work by insisting her prices were too high, although they matched her competitors. Lowe was later forced to retire due to her failing health and died in 1981.