The 1980s: The Birth and Rise of a Denim Pioneer and Fashion Visionary

The first major African-American denim designer and denim brand owner Maurice Malone in his youth in the 1980s wearing his metal knee pad jeans

On February 15, 1984, at the age of 19, Maurice Malone's registered his first company in the state of Michigan and embarked on a journey that would not only carve his name in the annals of fashion history but also establish him as the first African-American denim designer, a title that he wears with pride and distinction. His entry into the fashion world wasn't merely a debut; it was a revolution, setting a precedent that transcends race and redefines excellence in denim design.

Before Malone, other African-American designers may have experimented with denim, weaving it into their broader collections. However, none approached it with Malone’s singular dedication and visionary focus. Malone’s unique approach transcended mere experimentation; each collection was a masterclass in denim, a showcase of his unparalleled expertise and passion that brought denim out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

From 1984 onwards, his path has been more than just the narrative of the pioneering black denim designer. It is the account of a designer who, regardless of color, has ascended to embody the highest standard of mastery in denim, streetwear, and high-end fashion design. Malone's legacy extends far beyond being the first; it is forever engraved in history thanks to his unparalleled brilliance. With his influence transcending race and time, he has truly become an iconic figure in the realm of fashion. Come and join us as we explore the remarkable tale of Maurice Malone, a visionary designer who not only made history but also revolutionized it.

1984 - From The Beginning

The beginning history and background of fashion, and denim designer Maurice Malone.


1987 - Hardwear's Early Local Ads

A look at the early local newspaper advertisements for the first brand, Hardwear by Maurice Malone.


1987 - The First National Ad

The first national advertisement for Hardwear by Maurice Malone appeared in the Dec. issue of Interview.


1989 - Hardwear’s Cutting Edge

Malone's many activities help support his design goals, by Robin D. Givhan, Nov. 12, Detroit Free Press.