Denishio Murray Starts Murway and Fights Racism in Fashion Industry
Racism is prevalent in many industries, and the fashion industry is no exception. Black fashion designers, often known for unique creativity, are typically passed over and ignored. Only 7.5% of all US fashion designers are Black. This is a problem for everyone, as we are all missing out on their distinctive designs and ideas. To combat this problem, Denishio Murray, a Black business owner, started Murway. Murway is a gender-neutral, luxury leather bag line.
Struggles Faced by Black Fashion Designers
While it is difficult for anyone to get a start in fashion design, it is even more difficult for Black designers. One reason for this is because very few heads of fashion houses are people of color. These heads of houses rarely hire people of color to design for them. This systemic racism eliminates one avenue for Black designers to get started in the industry. Because of this, African American designers often elect to start their own business. Naturally, this requires quite a bit of money. Capital is needed to have inventory, to advertise, and to get products in front of customers. Some African Americans don’t have this opportunity.
Denishio Murray, Founder of Murway
Denishio Murray, founder of Murway, had an interesting start in the business world. In 2017, when he was just 24 years old, Murray started Murray’s In-Home Care. This personal care agency assists the disabled and elderly. This company gave Murray a head start in being a successful Black entrepreneur.
Murray notes there are certain characteristics that make you more likely to succeed when starting your own business. Doing so requires “determination, resilience, taking the time to educate yourself on business and your industry, and having a very strong work ethic.” For a Black entrepreneur, he stresses that these things are even more important.
In 2020 he started Murway, a gender-neutral leather bag line. He had always had a passion for fashion design and with his experience in business, he decided it was time to combine his two skills.
As a Black-owned business, Murway is one example of a company that formed in part due to the difficulties African Americans face in the fashion industry. It is common for Black fashion designers to have a very creative, unique vision. Sometimes this vision is not shared by those higher up on the food chain.
Murray encourages future entrepreneurs like him to “never let anyone place a limit on your capabilities.” He also tells up-and-coming Black designers that “your own approval is enough.” This is an important reminder for all designers, he says, because he believes that it is easy to get rejected in a world where creativity and subjectivity are the name of the game.
Murray Gets Started in Fashion Early
Murray recalls being his mother’s stylist even when he was very young. He would style looks for his mother and other family members whenever there was a special event. He loves to use his creativity to make people feel good about themselves. His love for fashion is rooted deeply in his love for his family. This is one reason why he named his most recent “MoMo” collection by Murway after his late uncle, who passed away from COVID-19 in September 2021.
Murway Combines Black Creativity with Luxury
Over the past few years the Black Lives Matter movement has created some change in buying habits of consumers. People, Gen Z especially, are looking to buy from socially conscious and Black-owned businesses. This is known as the “Buy Black” movement. Denishio Murray is looking to capitalize on this change. Murway is a direct to consumer business and sells their products directly on their website. They combine unique Black creativity with genuine Italian leather. These bags could sell for over $1,000, but it was important to Denishio Murray that his bags were accessible to everyone, so he lowered his prices.
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