The fashion world is filled with the majority of old white men with a sprinkle of Asians. You have Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger, and then you have Vera Wang who can make a shirt out of the cheapest materials in the world yet sell it for thousands by sticking their labels onto the material. As I began to research black American’s within fashion I found myself getting absolutely nothing. There are no current black American’s who are highly successful within the fashion world unless they are celebrities that first made their way by doing something else such as music or acting. The fashion world truly lacks diversity when so many cultures are appropriated and they have so much to contribute to the advancement of fashion.
The hip hop industry alone contributed to a major change in fashion with popular items such as big hoop earrings, baggy clothing for both men and women, hats the back and side. You even have artist such as Aaliyah the R&B singer who got people to really start buying Tommy Hilfiger’s clothing because of her modeling in his line. As much as black Americans have contributed to a lot of brands becoming popular you would expect at least some type of recognition for being the inspirations of their work or for being the reason why their product gets out there. For example the new wave of Michael Kors bags and their famous puff keychains on the purse every since black women have been flaunting them on the “Gram” (Instagram). The simple fact that our work is never known as ours it is only a good idea when a white person expresses the idea that an oppressed individual originally came up with.
The very few black people in fashion as stated before were celebrities before they decided to come out with a line. People such as Beyoncé who was obviously and still is a singer and actress, Kimora Lee Simmons who was a model before her Baby Phat line that Russell Simmons actually created, Zendaya who just recently as in 2016 made up her own line after being a Disney Star and a singer. When black Americans make their own fashion line they are disregarded as just “urban” wear which everyone knows is just code for “ black people style”, which will eventually be “reinvented” by the white man and be thought of as “high end”. You have black people who have fashion lines but they tend to never go internationally or global they are lucky if it even goes past local popularity. The one small window of opportunity that not only black people who was devoted to fashion but people all over the world took advantage of was when selling apparel and merchandises on Instagram where they could link their websites of their brands, show pictures of their products, have people comment and rate their brands, all for free. Due to it being a new concept the people that monopolized the fashion industry could not control it which helped get a few people into the fashion industry but they are still not yet at the same level as people such as Ralph Lauren.
The fashion industry is monopolized by mainly one color, one race who have been in the industry long enough. It is time for not only black people but also any other underrepresented race to be recognized and allowed to be in the industry without being looked down upon and have their work being belittled by the same people who want to have as much creativity as them.