Go forward and Google: Ophelia DeVore. “Ophelia began out as a mannequin, however then she owned a modeling company. She was a lighter skinned lady with an ambiguous look. When she signed with an company, she did not inform them that she was Black. She thought they knew—till she overheard the company inform somebody that they did not take Black fashions. And she or he mentioned, “Umm… you don’t?”
Taniqua Russ is a content material creator and the host of Black Fashion History, a podcast that focuses on the contributions of Black individuals to the style business throughout time durations.
I’ve been excited about trend for so long as I can bear in mind. I studied journalism, and trend, merchandising, and design as a minor. I used to be studying so much about trend and costume historical past, however not so much about African-People, or African individuals within the diaspora that made contributions to trend.
Once I moved to New York for graduate faculty, I used to be working as a pattern assistant. I’d be asking individuals about their favourite Black designers or manufacturers, and nobody may identify anyone—so I made a decision to start out doing my very own analysis. I used to be like, I’m going to do one thing that may share this info, inform individuals’s tales, and provides anyone a spot to look to in the event that they’re excited about studying extra about Black trend historical past.
I get DMs about potential topics, or it is sparked by my very own private pursuits and what I am studying on the time. Typically whereas researching, I will stumble throughout a line in a classic Jet, possibly a designer or stylist’s identify, and I will attempt to seek for that individual and never discover the rest aside from that one line. And I am considering to myself: there’s a complete historical past because it pertains to trend and design related to this individual, and that’s been misplaced in a way. Whereas they have been dwelling, their work wasn’t documented sufficient and there hasn’t been anybody digging deep to analysis that info since.
One in all my favourite episodes thus far was the one with Ceci, the costume designer for Dwelling Single, A Completely different World, and Sister Sister. It was relatable to individuals who might not be excited about trend historical past, however love and relate to those exhibits and are actually excited to be taught the place the thought of Whitley’s costumes got here from. It was an entire fangirl second for me in that. I additionally liked the episode I did with Cinque Brathwaite, the son of one of many authentic Grandassa fashions. He mentioned the motion that his mother and father created, in addition to the Grandassa fashions and their contribution to Black trend.
I do not think about myself a trend historian, simply because the thought behind that phrase is that you just went to high school and acquired a level, otherwise you’re working in museum research or one thing like that. You’ll be able to simply name me an “fanatic.”
Go forward and Google: Jay Jaxon. Up till lately, he was often known as a Black designer with out a lot extra info related to him. A girl by the identify of Rachel Fenderson made him the topic of her grasp’s thesis and discovered that there are issues he’s accomplished that weren’t even credited to him—which made for the hole within the historical past. If she hadn’t put that collectively, his work would have been misplaced. His work spanned a long time.