Fashion Industry Still Far from Being Diversified

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The fashion industry is under scrutinization for an underrepresented African American community. Of the 260 shows at this week’s New York Fashion Week, only three are of African-American descent: Tracy Reese, Public School and Hood by Air.

Tracy Reese backstage at New York Fashion Week.

At the Democratic National Convention in 2012, Michelle Obama wore a design by Tracy Reese, bringing her into the limelight. Spectators were in awe of the pink and silver sleeveless design and expectations for a more African-American-centric fashion world were buzzing. But after two years there seems to be no such advancements in the equality of races in the industry.

Maxwell Osborne, an African-American designer who is one-half of the creative genius behind the menswear brand Public School, stood on stage at the Lincoln Center to receive the 2014 CFDA Award for menswear last June. He realized he was “the first designer of color on stage [to accept] this award since Sean Combs won it in 2004 for Sean John.”

When it comes down to it, no one in the diverse fashion community feels alienated or persecuted for their ethnicity, sex or sexual orientation. As a whole the industry is made up of outsiders, so the question is raised, why aren’t there more African-American designers? Among the many speculations surrounding this phenomenon include financial disability, number of African American students studying fashion in schools, and that there aren’t enough figureheads for younger generations to look up to. With the modeling world becoming more and more diversified as of late we hope to see this trend influence the fashion industry as a whole, designers included.
Blaine  Fuller
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