Saturday, September 14, 2019

This Organization Made History for Black Talent in the Fashion Industry

The National Association of Black Fashion and Accessories Designers was the first of its kind to combat nepotism among White gatekeepers.


BY: Shelby Ivey Christie  Sep 6 2019 · 6 min read

Women and Mary Mcleod Bethune (co-founder of the New York chapter of NAFAD). Photo: Afro Newspaper/Gado/Getty

Being Black in fashion is often boiled down to two words: access and opportunity. The luxury fashion landscape has historically been vastly White. One of luxury’s key pillars is exclusivity; another is scarcity. These principals have been upheld for centuries, not only in luxury fashion but also in the way opportunities and resources are afforded and how talent is defined.

There is a decades-long system where talent of color, mainly Black fashion talent, is left with no entryway into an already exclusive industry.

There are many examples of just how far White nepotism has propelled White fashion talent. Yves Saint Laurent was taken under Christian Dior’s tutelage after his father’s friend Michel de Brunhoff, editor in chief of Vogue Paris, shared Saint Laurent’s sketches with Dior. Anna Wintour’s father was the editor in chief of one of the most revered U.K. publications and set her up with her first job in fashion after she dropped out of high school. Stella McCartney, Paul McCartney’s daughter, was named the creative director of ChloĆ© in 1997, just two years after graduating from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. The Hadid sisters, Lizzy Jagger, Kendall Jenner, and Kaia Gerber have become some of the most recognizable faces in fashion because of who their parents are and the access it affords them.

There is a decades-long system where talent of color, mainly Black fashion talent, is left with no entryway into an already exclusive industry. In response, a collective of Black fashion designers banded together across the United States to form the National Association of Black Fashion and Accessories Designers (NAFAD) to give access and opportunities to Black fashion talent. It was the first organization of its kind. Read More Here:

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