At the onset of the 2020 Pandemic. I came across a post on “Diversity in Fashion.” More emphasis on people of color, and how we were once excluded from mainstream advertising campaigns.
This got me thinking if any blogs or websites are addressing this topic and possible ways to put an end to the visible racial divide in the Fashion industry. I found one —DiversityinFashion.com which hosts Twitter chats around the issue and POSHGLAM.com. I got a chance to chat with the Founder of both, Kimberly E. Stone.
If you happen to fall on the left side of the line then this subject concerns you as much as those on the right. But before we share how this affects us all and ways we can all contribute to a better society, let us hear from someone already doing something about it.
Who is Kimberly E. Stone And How Did you get involved in Fashion?
Kimberly is many things — an American Entrepreneur, Model, Inventor, Fashion Enthusiast, and Philanthropist but above all, Kimberly is black. I am black and unapologetic about it.
“It all started when I was four years old, my mother took me to the fabric store to buy fabric for a bridesmaid’s dress and I wanted fabric of my own. I created a top and bottom and I fell in love with fashion. I started selling custom-made t-shirts and barrettes at church making $100/week in elementary school.
In middle school, I stayed on top of fashion by reading the magazines and continued to sew. I worked at a fabric store in high school winning the “Best Dressed” superlative and started POSHGLAM in college while living in New York City and observing all of the bustling talents of young designers.
While studying in New York I noticed how upcoming fashion designers found it difficult to have their voices heard.”
But what about diversity? What about people of color who want to find clothes that reflect their culture or heritage?
Have you at any Point Experienced Racial Discrimination in Your line of Work?
“Having spent the past fifteen (16) years in fashion with POSHGLAM, I find it funny to admit I have experienced sneaky racism in the industry. Maybe, being overlooked or not being included in major projects or blogger collaborations, etc. Though we’ve helped set the tone, we haven’t always been given credit.
Not-so-distant events like the election of President Barack Obama and more recent ones like the death of George Floyd have focused more attention on the topic of race. Fortunately, we’re seeing things change for the better. People of color are getting more involved in fashion and are more vocal about their pursuits and getting noticed.
It’s been a long time coming. When Bethann Hardison, Naomi Campbell & Iman spoke out about the lack of models of color in the shows, I believe this was the beginning of real change.
Diversity in fashion is not a new concept. It has been debated since the 1800s. This is because there are so many different cultures and beliefs throughout the world. However, Diversity In Fashion can be seen as more of an issue today because of the world wide web and its ability to connect people from different backgrounds and walks of life.
A decade ago, the fashion industry was overwhelmingly white and it showed in the pages of magazines, on runways, and in stores. But today, there is an ever-increasing amount of diversity not only in models but also in designers as well as other aspects of this fast-paced industry.
There is increased representation among women and people with different ethnicities as well as those who are disabled or LGBT+. In fact, according to one study released by Condé Nast International last year “39% of models were from minority backgrounds”
The 2010s have seen consistent progress when it comes to diversity in the fashion industry
which will hopefully continue into 2020 and beyond.
How far has POSHGLAM come and What’s the Future Like?
“I remember when I first started POSHGLAM, the thought of turning it into a full-time gig seemed like an impossibility. I was working two jobs and had little free time to devote to the blog and my social media channels. Fast forward a few years later, we grew from an unknown fashion blog into one of the most influential online publications in our industry. We’ve now taken a break to build the social network”
“Although we’ve had to work twice as hard to get to where we are at, the future is looking bright for us at POSHGLAM. We’re continuing to grow as a business with new projects on the horizon that will help elevate our brand even more.”
How can Europeans help change the narrative of people of color?
“The narrative of people of color in the Western world is often one that paints them as less-than and subjugates their contributions to society. It should start by recognizing that every culture has its idea of beauty and Fashion is very expressive. We can express ourselves by taking on different ideas, take a little bit of everything without bias.
We are in a good place right now and say we’ve made tangible progress. We’re in the information age where you can easily learn about each other’s culture while being at two ends of the world”.