Black Owned Fashion Labels Desperate Need for Survival

By CultureBanx Team

  • The global fashion industry is a $3 trillion sector
  • There’s a massive gap between a post-racial fashion industry and today’s reality

Black designers still face challenging roadblocks as they struggle to rise to the pinnacle of the American fashion industry. The $3 trillion global fashion sector continues to struggle with whitewashed runways. Is it imperative to include black fashion designers in order to keep the industry relevant?

Why This Matters: There continues to be a massive gap between a post-racial fashion industry and today’s reality. Black designers are at the very center of popular culture, yet they rarely reach the same level of success in terms size and name recognition as others in their generation, such as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren (RL +0.36%) and Diane Von Furstenberg.

Industry veteran Tracy Reese, one of the most well known black designers in the world has managed to sustain her business for 22 years. Her company is now majority-owned by a consortium of investors. “We have to approach this from a different perspective, because it does come down to money. You pretty much have to buy a seat at the table, especially if it’s a white table, or a white-run table,” Reese told Business of Fashion.

Fashion has also had several landmark moments in the past couple of years. A black man has been appointed editor-in-chief of British Vogue and a black woman is at the helm of Teen Vogue. Most recently, Virgil Abloh became the first African American man to lead a major European fashion house when he was named head of menswear for Louis Vuitton. All of these strides should help black designers who are struggling to build sustainable businesses despite their increased notoriety in the industry.

Situational Awareness: It would be prudent for executives of major fashion brands to hire African American designers at brands that capitalize on black culture. Also, retailers should support independent black fashion labels by making a concerted effort to seek out and buy their collections.

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