Lewis Hamilton paid for young Black designers to attend the Met Gala

Emerging talents Theophilio, Kenneth Nicholson, and Jason Rembert joined Law Roach and Sha'Carri Richardson on the Formula One champ’s excellent all-Black table

Although this year’s Met Gala theme was technically all-American, there was a distinct lack of American design on the beige carpet – not one (1) person wore Marc Jacobs – with almost every celebrity soliciting European fashion houses for their looks. That being said, the Americana spirit was palpable, because disregarding the rules and doing whatever you want is perhaps the most US thing of all. And while some attendees did tap the stalwarts (among them Ralph Lauren, Thom Browne, Michael Kors, Carolina Herrera) most guests overlooked America’s emerging vanguard of Black design talent. Not to mention OG designers like Willi Smith, Dapper Dan, or Sean John. 

As if to preempt this, however, Lewis Hamilton gave three designers a seat at his table – to the kaching of £30,000 no less – where they joined a sweep of bright Black talents. Theophilio, Kenneth Nicholson, and Jason Rembert sat beside stylist Law Roach, Alton Mason, Kehlani, and athletes Miles Chamley-Watson and Sha'Carri Richardson. Hamilton, who is by now a Met Ball veteran, explained his decision to turn the spotlight towards these up-and-coming US talents. “The Met is the biggest fashion event of the year, and for this theme, I wanted to create something that was meaningful and would spark a conversation,” he told Vogue. “So that when people see us all together, it will put these Black designers at the top of people’s minds.” 

As one of the motor world’s most influential figures, and an ambassador for the sport far beyond the race course, the seven-time Formula One champ established the Hamilton Commission last year to improve Black representation within the UK sport. To steer these efforts into the creative industry and use the Met Gala as an opportunity to diversify its talent roster, is a logical move, then. “We’re living in a time where diversity and inclusion is so important, and that’s why I started this organisation within my own sport,” he continued. “I realized it’s very similar in the fashion industry. A lot of young brands and designers don’t have the same opportunities, so that’s what really set me off.”

Check out our round-up of Met Gala looks in the gallery below.