I’ve been home from New York for a week, and the excitement has yet to wear off. The hustle and bustle of The City forces you to put a little pep in your step, and something in the spirit of the city awakens you. When you’re in New York City, anything can happen, and any dream is achievable.
Or, at least, that’s the feeling you get when you’re there.
The truth of the matter is, there are plenty of people chasing dreams and hitting glass ceilings everyday in New York…especially if they are black, and in the business of fashion. Yeah, I said it. The numbers don’t lie. From the runway to the boardroom, color is significantly absent in the world of apparel and accessories, with no rhyme or reason. Some things just are the way they are, because, they are…and no one has had enough gumption to do anything to change it.
This week is one of the biggest in the world of fashion. Annually, Mercedes Benz’s New York Fashion Week draws thousands of fashionistas, designers, buyers, publicists and journalists to the city for exclusive runway shows and VIP events. When the tents go up, the biggest and brightest stars in the industry come out and showcase their best. From the runway show, to the decor in the tents, everything is about a STATEMENT…and one was definitely made a few days ago.
The photo above was taken in Lincoln Center Plaza in New York City Thursday night. Michaela angela Davis, a well-respected voice in fashion (former Fashion Director at ESSENCE and EIC at Honey), was on the scene and shared the experience via her Twitter account.
If you aren’t aware, ESSENCE hired a white Fashion Director…which raised concerns with subscribers and employees, both former and current. In protest of ESSENCE’s decision, the young ladies pictured above took to the streets carrying picket signs baring the names of African-American fashion directors past and present…a tribute to the legacy and history of black leaders in fashion.
When I saw this…I got excited for two reasons. The first being, the aesthetics of the image itself. It’s striking. All black everything from head to toe.It’s like a tiny black stiletto fashion revolution. Secondarily, and more importantly, this silent statement sets an example for our generation. Now fashion may seem trivial to some, but in my opinion, prejudice and un-leveled playing fields are never things to be taken lightly. I think one of the greatest issues we have in our generation is that we don’t really know how to fight for anything. Our grandparents fought for equality across color lines. The closest thing we’ve accomplished is the election of President Obama. Previous generations planted seeds that are now trees, but that doesn’t mean that our generation should sit under the shade of their branches. We have seeds and trees of our own that need to be planted and grown. In other words, in the same way that those before us fought for our right to vote and go to integrated schools, we should be standing up for the issues that threaten our greatness.
It may not be as prevalent as it was in the 60’s…but the struggle is still relevant. Taking cues from the past, these young ladies united for a cause they believed in, and although it may not have gotten a black fashion director hired, they caught the attention of key players in the industry, which could be a catalyst of change.
…So, it’s up to us to stand up, rather than sitting back and blaming others. We need new leaders anyway…Rev. Jesse & Rev. Al are not the voice of our generation. How are you going to stand up for what’s important to you? Organize, and mobilize. It’s time to make statements, they’re always in style.
- Fashionistas Protest Fashion Week (theroot.com)