BLACK MEN IN FASHION: PAVING THE WAY OR STEALING THE SPOTLIGHT?

Monday, 28 May 2018


I’m black, I’m gay, I’m not rich and I’m not thin... I’m a model of diversity. You couldn’t make me up.
- Edward Enninful, The Times 

After giving in to my ceaseless craving for a fashion film binge-watching session (consisting of The September Issue (2009) and In Vogue: The Editor's Eye (2012), I sat internally battling between being inspired and pissed off. 

The world of fashion has been designed to best suit the upper echelons of the industry, propelling those who are predominantly either white females or white gay males to the top.

However, there is a new paradigm for diversity in the fashion industry and Edward Enninful, first black editor-in-chief of British Vogue, is seated at diversity's throne reigning supreme. 

In addition to Enninful, other distinguishable fashion figures like André Leon Talley, Olivier Rousteing and Virgil Abloh have become the trailblazers for black men in the industry—but have they paved the way for black women or stolen the spotlight? 

At the rate the world around us is moving in terms of social justice and diversity, one can only hope that these beloved fashion luminaries represent only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to diversity in fashion, but it still is not enough. 

When it comes to the statistics of black women in fashion, something simply does not add up.

Under the microscope, statistics from major fashion schools such as the Fashion Institute of Technology prove that their students are primarily female at 85% with a small percentage of 9% of known black students.

So, with such a minute percentage of black students in unison with such a large percentage of female students, why is it that black men seem to be in the spotlight?


In The Glass Runway: How Gender and Sexuality Shape the Spotlight in Fashion Design, Dr. Alyson Stoker explores the concept of the "glass runway" in fashion.


This theory suggests that although the fashion industry is a highly feminized field, men (especially gay men) in the business of fashion are "pushed down the runway", achieving greater fame, praise and publicity. 

In Vogue: The Editor's Eye (2012) highlights Vogue's most iconic fashion editors and directors: Babs Simpson, Grace Coddington, Tonne Goodman, Phyllis Posnick, Jade Hobson, Carlyne Cerf, Polly Mellen and Anna Wintour (with commentary from Hamish Bowles), praising their contribution to the magazine that Vogue has become. 

The problem? For those who aren't aware, this group of icons features an entirely white female cast with the exception of Bowles, who is a white gay male.

If there were an updated instalment of In Vogue that stretched overseas to British Vogue, we would be introduced to Edward Enninful, who would sit in striking contrast to his predecessors.




In 2017, Enninful's first issue of British Vogue featured biracial model Adwoa Aboah on its cover and still, over a year after his appointment as editor-in-chief, it is evident that the Enninful effect truly exits and it's infectious.



Last year, super model legend and close friend of Enninful, Naomi Campbell, called out the previous editor-in-chief of British Vogue in an Instagram post, sparking a much needed conversation about diversity in the industry.

British Vogue's most recent May cover displays nine diverse models—making British Vogue history by including the first hijab-wearing model on its cover in its 102-year existence.


When I say diversity, I want to be clear that it is never just about black and white for me. It’s about diversity across the board – whether that’s race, size, socio-economic background, religion, sexuality. That’s what I want to celebrate with this cover. 
-Edward Enninful, British Vogue
To see any minority, be it race or gender, battle for success and come out on top in this industry is commendable.

To take that success and effectively use your position of power at a renowned publication such as British Vogue to introduce, collaborate with and provide opportunities for fellow minorities like black women is impeccable.

It is safe to say that Enninful is undoubtedly making moves for black women in fashion, despite the fact that he is a man and I'm here for it.

I couldn't have chosen a better time to dive into the world of fashion journalism—and there are no words to describe my excitement about being part of an era where diversity and social justice are both the forefront and future of the fashion industry.

Who better to tackle such pressing issues than those who have dealt with them first hand?

Slowly, but surely.

Love, LAUR





BEST OF THE MET GALA 2018 x HEAVENLY BODIES: FASHION AND THE CATHOLIC IMAGINATION

Tuesday, 8 May 2018


NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK—The first Monday in May calls for the worlds most elite in all realms from film to fashion and the unexpected grey area that lies in between. This is the Oscar night of the fashion world and the Super Bowl of style—the Met Gala.

This years Met Monday themed "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination" is where controversy met Catholicism, hosted by the Holy Trinity of this years event, Rihanna, Amal Clooney and Donatella Versace, on its 70th anniversary.

The Met calls for fashion luminaries across the globe to come together in the city that never sleeps, and strut the steps of the Met before appreciating the rooms of spectacular opulence that lie within and indulging in bathroom selfie sessions—despite Anna Wintour's supposed ban on social media at the event.

I'm all for pushing boundaries, but when it comes to the Met Gala my favourite looks are the ones that best execute the theme while looking fashionable.

So, without further ado, here are my top 10 favourite looks from the 2018 Met Gala counting down to number one.



10. Kim Kardashian West

Regardless of the lack of themed dress from the rest of the  Kardashian Jenner (whose style I typically adore) crew, Kim Kardashian West gets it. Kim came through looking like a walking chalice in a curve hugging Atelier Versace metal mesh gown with crystal cross adornments. Kim has never been one for grand avant-garde gestures of fashion at the Met, rather, she stays on theme in her own simplistic yet sexy Kim Kardashian-esque way.  And her glam? Absolutely killed it.


9. Blake Lively
Blake Lively never disappoints and this look was no exception to the rule. Regal in red, Blake walked the Met in a Versace gown, with a long flowing train to follow. So long in fact, that Blake took a party bus to the event.   


8. Jasmine Sanders
All eyes were on Jasmine Sanders in this custom high in the front and long in the back (a popular trend at this year's gala) H&M golden gown, but as she turned to pose for the camera's, her hair stole the show. Jasmine's blonde braid was embellished with real red roses, gold ribbons and mini pearls.


7. Cara Delevingne

Cara Delevingne, who has been known to bring an edgy twist to every red carpet, did just that in Dior. The tips of Cara's bleach-blonde hair were dyed pink, pairing with her makeup that featured bright bursts of yellow and fuchsia for the perfect pop of colour beneath her black veil. 

6. J Lo
J Lo hit the red carpet in a revealing yet elegant Balmain dress. This jewel-encrusted look was one of few with a prominent crucifix—an obvious depiction of this years theme, with a risqué slit revealing her leg in contrast. 



5. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's ethereal beauty was on full display in this Ralph Lauren gown. This goddess, who may or may not have fallen straight out of heaven and down to Manhattan, wore a literal halo, looking nothing short of angelic. 


4. Ariana Grande
Talk about being on theme. For her first Met Gala, Ariana Grande donned a custom Vera Wang gown, looking like a walking portrayal of Michaelangelo's iconic fresco, "The Last Judgment", that can be found covering the altar wall of none other than the Sistine Chapel. This look is a favourite amongst fashion and art history enthusiasts alike. 


3. Kate Bosworth


Where some may be sinners for the night, Kate Bosworth is a saint. Kate, like Rosie, opted for a truly heavenly look as she floated elegantly down the read carpet in an Oscar de le Renta gown. Kate appears to be channelling La Madre Dolorosa (Statue of the weeping Madonna), as edited by me on the left, paying homage to both the theme and the art work displayed inside the museum.


2. Lily Collins
Lily Collins' Met mood: high priestess in the middle of Manhattan at the crossroads of gothicism and religion. On an Instagram live stream with Vogue, Lily self-described her sheer Givenchy dress as having a "chic, nun vibe," and a deep V that honours the late Hubert de Givenchy. On her head, a black halo, in place of a traditional nuns veil. And to top it all off? A rosary delicately dangling from her hands in contrast with not-so-holy black nails. I'm obsessed with this look, it screams "forgive me father, for I have slayed."


1. Rihanna 
Best dressed at the 2018 Met Gala goes to the reigning queen of the Met and the hostest with the mostest—Rihanna. Let us take a moment to thank God for a look so extraordinary it could've been handcrafted by the man himself. Rihanna's intricate, pearl-encrusted ensemble is a Maison Margiela by John Galliano masterpiece. This papal-inspired look would not be complete without the Bishops cloak and mitre, also by Margiela, to match. Rihanna has redefined fashion and the catholic imagination with this Rih-ligiously controversial yet fashion-forward fit. What's a fashion statement that doesn't spark discussion anyway?  Ask and you shall receive, Rihanna has answered all our prayers. Amen.


BONUS: Chadwick Boseman
After an unfortunate lack of men who were true to this years theme, I was elated to see Chadwick Boseman on the red carpet in a subtle yet still on theme look in all white Versace embellished with gold symbolism and a cape.


Gala goal for next year? Men, take note of the theme and bring your A game.

Love, LAUR


DISCLAIMER: ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF VOGUE, GETTY IMAGES AND VARIOUS TWITTER ACCOUNTS









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