African Americans have always taken pride in their attire. Fashion makes an indelible statement about our culture, so much so that Ralph Lauren Corp. recently paid homage to the elite style of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with its first all-Black fashion campaign, where the models, photographers and creative directors are all Black. Celebration of Black pride, style and history from a multibillion-dollar fashion brand is truly rare, and while we applaud this, much more work needs to be done.  

Recently, talk of celebrating diversity has increased. In 2020, we watched on television as the Black Lives Matter movement illustrated the inequities Black people endure throughout the world. These injustices span well beyond policing; They impact the fashion industry, including manufacturing, sales and advertising.

However, while the world grappled with the pandemic during the past two years, much to the fashion industry’s surprise, sales of eyewear reached a new level of attention. The world finally started to see Black fashion creators in a new light.  

The fact remains that Black people are underrepresented in the fashion industry. This underrepresentation includes the lack of Black people in the boardrooms of major fashion houses and executive teams of major fashion magazines. Despite the growing recognition of the importance of diversity, marketing materials of brands that Black consumers financially support definitely lack people of color.