Sergio Hudson, one of the biggest names in fashion, is getting his well-deserved flowers through a new exhibition at The Columbia Museum of Art. Through June 30, 2024, “Sergio Hudson: Focused on the Fit” showcases the work of the iconic designer. Museum visitors can get up close and personal with nearly 50 artistic works from key moments in Hudson’s revolutionary career.

Born and raised in Ridgeway, South Carolina, Hudson draws inspiration from the strong women in his life. His mother, Sheldon Hudson, exposed Hudson to sewing and fashion design at four years old. Since launching his eponymous label in 2014, the fashion icon’s signature markers of strength, sophistication and sensuality have given new life to luxury American sportswear. He continues to revolutionize the fashion world with eye-catching looks for high-profile clients, including Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, Serena Williams, Rihanna, Kamala Harris, Issa Rae and Keke Palmer.

“Focused on the Fit” features approximately 38 illustrations and 10 signature garments. Visitors can preview Keke Palmer’s ethereal 2023 Met Gala look, a suit ensemble worn by Beyoncé in 2019 and a custom suit made for Issa Rae in 2018. The creativity and teamwork behind the building of Hudson’s iconic brand also is on display, showcasing designs from concept to craft to final collection.

“Many things are happening in my life that I could only dream of, [and] this exhibition at the [Columbia Museum of Art] is one of them,” Hudson said. “I feel very lucky, and I hope my story can inspire other young men in South Carolina to believe in themselves and follow their passion.”

Travel Noire spoke with Hudson about the early days of his career, pivotal moments and style tips to up your travel fashion style game.

sergio hudson collections group photo
Photo credit: Erik Lee Snyder

Travel Noire: Many people believe that you have to be in a major city, like Atlanta or New York, to start growing their brand; however, you took a different path. How were you able to start growing your brand from your hometown?

Sergio Hudson: At the end of the day, it speaks to your work ethic, your talent and your drive to get out there. I didn’t have the means to leave South Carolina at the time. When you have the internet, it’s like, ‘Okay, people see what they see.’ That’s how I started getting my work out there. It was an investment. 

Sometimes, I couldn’t eat out because I had to pay a FedEx bill to overnight ship a dress to LA. For years, it was that. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. 

TN: What travel style tips do you have for those who want to be stylish, but don’t want to sacrifice comfort?

SH: I think it’s always a third layer, and that doesn’t have to necessarily be a piece of clothing. It’s always about effort. If you put a little effort in when you’re going to travel, people will notice and you’ll feel better. It’s not one specific thing, but I always would say a third layer – a jacket, a shade, [or] a nice pair of earrings. Think about something that will make it look like you thought about what you have on.

(Left to Right) Megan Pinckney Rutherford, Sergio Hudson, and Inga Beckham.
(Left to Right) Megan Pinckney Rutherford, Sergio Hudson,
and Inga Beckham. Photo credit: Jesse Volk

TN: What travel gear can Sergio Hudson not leave the house without?

SH: My TUMI luggage. I’m very particular about luggage. I [also] always have a denim jacket. I don’t care how hot it is or how cold it is, I always travel with a denim jacket. It’s like my uniform.

TN: When you aren’t traversing the world styling pop culture’s favorite celebrities, where are you going for your downtime? 

SH: I love to travel, but I travel so much for work. I’m a big staycation person. I love to be at home, but I live in Los Angeles, which is a traveler’s dream. I love Cabo and anywhere in the Caribbean [because] I love the beach. [I also love] Aspen and Lake Tahoe because my husband and the kids like to ski. We normally do a winter vacation.

TN: What encouraging word do you have for anybody who’s getting started in a small town, but wants to do big things in the world? 

SH: Dream big and don’t let your surroundings hold you down. I had a mother who really spoke to my dreams. She encouraged me, and she let me know that I can do this. Everybody doesn’t have that, and I think you have to be that for yourself sometimes. You have to encourage yourself. 

This article has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.