ESSENCE Fashion House Reveals Major Retailers “Embarrassed” by Lack of Black Designers


Brandice daniel founded Harlem’s Fashion Row when “less than about 1 to 2% of designers in department stores” were “color designers.”

According to her, this statistic is still true today after 14 years of fighting for equality in fashion. “It hasn’t changed since I started. That same statistic has remained, ”she said in conversation with perfume master Chris Collins, celebrity stylist Groovy Lew and ESSENCE associate editor Cori Murray at ESSENCE Fashion House.

Harlem’s Fashion Row provides training, resources and opportunities for black designers. Fe Noel, who worked with the company, is now sitting on the shelves of Saks Fifth Avenue.

“There’s more now, but it still hasn’t moved the one-ton needle,” added Daniel.

In 2020, Brother Vellies founder Aurora James, who recently dressed AOC for the Met Gala, publicly demanded that department stores start stocking 15% of their shelves with black designers. His cry has grown into a nonprofit initiative called the 15 Percent Pledge.

Daniel, who has negotiated major partnerships with sports giants and basic ready-to-wear retailers for black designers, revealed that the disparities in the fashion industry were so severe that some companies were literally ashamed of themselves. of their lack of diversity.

She says that when she visited their headquarters, they would prevent her from seeing the results of their lack of inclusion.

“And then when you walk into retailers and brands, they don’t even want me to step into their design space,” she revealed.

She has said on more than one occasion, the response to her request to see the inner workings of a company’s design floor was, “No, we’re really sorry, we’re not taking you there.”

Companies are clearly aware of their creative shortcomings.

“They’ll say to me, ‘we’re embarrassed to take you there because we know you’re going to follow and we don’t have enough black designers,” Daniel said.

Hopefully, they will be embarrassed enough to do anything real before 2035.

SUBJECTS: African American designers black designers brandice daniel essence fashion essence fashion house Harlem’s Fashion Row

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