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Designers Tracy Reese and J. Alexander Martin talk about their journeys as Black designers in the fashion world.

Hope for Flowers founder Tracy Reese and FUBU co-founder J. Alexander Martin talk to Into America about their journeys to break into the fashion industry.

About this episode:

As a Black girl in Detroit, Tracy Reese loved making her own clothes and attending the famed Ebony Fashion Fair with her mother. Today, she’s one of the most well-known designers in fashion. Michelle Obama, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Oprah Winfrey have all worn her designs. But getting to this level wasn’t easy.

Reese is part of a long line of Black designers influencing the fashion industry, while navigating a world where they’re often underrepresented and marginalized. But Black designers, creatives, and brands have still found ways to break through the industry and push the culture forward in fashion.

On this episode of Into America, Reese speaks to Trymaine Lee about her path to becoming a household name. And Lee speaks with J. Alexander Martin, the co-founder of the iconic sportswear line, FUBU — the first clothing line to integrate fashion with hip-hop culture, media, and entertainment. Martin talks about how he and his crew defied the odds by starting a mainstream brand that is "for us, by us."

Reese and Martin took very different, but parallel, paths to make it in the industry. Both faced barriers and pressures to conform, while ultimately learning to move confidently and strut their stuff to become the moguls they are today.

Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.

Find the transcript here.

First lady Michelle Obama takes the stage during day one of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 4, 2012.Alex Wong / Getty Images file
LL Cool J appears in a GAP commercial.GAP

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