A Nod To Black Designers
If you have been on Twitter or Instagram you may have seen the hashtag or phrase “representation matters.” This phrase is floating around because there is a need for black girls to see black representations in a positive light as they grow up. Too many times there is underlying racism in the lives of our children and they grow up believing their dreams are impossible. When I was growing up, I said I wanted to be a doctor because, my pediatrician was a black woman. I truly wanted to be a fashion designer, but the only fashion designers I knew that had made the kind of impact I wanted to make were white. The only black models I constantly saw were Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell. The huge fashion houses weren’t headed by American black girls. This example was why representation mattered then and matters now. Honestly with the amounts of power and notariety black women have in this day and age representation matters even more. That is why it warmed my heart this year to see black female hosts wear black designers to their hosting gigs this year.
Twice this year I have had the pleasure of seeing black women give a nod to black fashion designers in the simplest, most impactful way; wearing their clothing. Issa Rae did it first when she hosted the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards ceremony in Brooklyn, New York. Tracee Ellis Ross followed suit at this years American Music Awards. This small notion inspired black fashion lovers across the board because it gave a sense of hope for those wanting to break into the fashion industry. Let’s get into their looks!
Issa Rae hosted the ceremony wearing head to toe black designers and the idea was perfect considering she was the first African-American to host the event in history. She was also the first woman since 2009 to host the sacred fashion event. She had accomplished two large feats just by hosting the event showing black girls around the world that wanted to break into the fashion industry there was a possibility they could accomplish this as well. To top off her historic hosting job she decided to collaborate with her stylist Jason Rembert to wear all black designers throughout the night. Her red carpet look had the fashion industry buzzing in shock because her belt had the word “Nigga” on it. If you think I’m kidding about the shock factor you should Google it to see the headlines. The headlines should have been about the designers she wore, how she was the first black host and she killed it, but no the N-word was the headline.
Tracee Ellis Ross later hosted the American Music Awards and Tracee Ellis Ross’ style has become absolute style to watch at all times. If you are not following her Instagram, you are truly missing out. While Ross’ outfits were not solely black designers, she featured black designers in every look she wore.
Tracee Ellis Ross and Issa Rae are not the first celebrities to rock a black designer, but they took the time to use their platform and support these designers. Simply wearing a black designer will give them the same exposure white designers all seem to get. These ladies being mindful of the simple fact everything they wore would be a headline on fashion outlets and choosing to wear black designers while hosting major events was a nod to the black designer and the aspiring black designer. This representation matters because fashion has pounded the narrative in our heads through imagery if it ain’t white it ain’t right and that’s not true.
Now we are seeing we can be fashion designers and see our designs on the main stage and red carpet. We can be fashion stylists for A-Listers, we can walk the Victoria’s Secret Show, we can shoot the cover of Vogue’s September Issue, we can truly fit into an industry we didn’t believe existed, but for a handful of us.