The Fashion and Race Database provides an accessible, academic treatment to one of fashion’s most critical topics facing us today.


The Fashion and Race Database partners with Tommy Hilfiger to launch a new podcast, The Invisible Seam: Unsung Stories of Black Culture and Fashion.

The Invisible Seam: Unsung Stories of Black Culture and Fashion features compelling interviews with expert guests, including designers, academics, fashion historians, museum curators, stylists and artists. It’s hosted by Kimberly Jenkins of The Fashion and Race Database.

The Invisible Seam is also available wherever you get your podcasts.

EP5: There Will Be No More Doors

When some of us go through doors, we take them off their hinges. What does the future of fashion look like, and how do we get there?

EP4: The Best, The Brightest, The Dressed

1900, 1987, 2018 – three moments when HBCU fashion culture expanded perceptions of being Black in America. We explore what it meant then—and today.

EP3: Statement Piece

All white, top hat, Sunday best, black beret, denim – these have been tools of protest and catalysts for change throughout history. Now we’re unpacking the relationship between what we wear and what we believe.

EP2: Rhythm & Muse

A look into how the hip-hop community built its look on the margins of an unwelcoming fashion industry, before it became as universal and sought-after as it is today.

EP1: No Blueprint

Sets the scene and establishes the root and reason for the show, with guests Jeffrey Banks and Romeo Hunte (Designers), and Ceci (Costume Designer).

Introduction (trailer)

Welcome to this five-part series that celebrates Black contributions to fashion, hosted by fashion educator Kimberly Jenkins.

Featured Content

Styling the Quad: Fashioning the Legacy of HBCU Culture

There are many access points to discussing HBCU style and its impact, which continues to persist into the future. The evolution of its spirit from respectability politics to individuality, to a mixture of both today, highlights that the Black experience is extraordinarily vast and only aims to build a community that empowers its members into levels of success that were not historically afforded to them.

A Great Day in Hip Hop – A Decade of Hip Hop Style’s Influences

On the steps of 17 East 126th Street in Harlem in 1998, hip hop artists reveled in the mere act of seeing each other. That day seeing each other is what mattered most, and through the lens of his camera, photographer Gordon Parks made sure that we would always see them too.

Fashioning the Protest

The relationship between protest and fashion is both a negotiation and a rejection of mainstream norms, which has been a major influence on the development of Black adornment and style over the course of the twentieth century.


Cotton is a widely accessible and cheap material with complex histories and global implications. Although several continents have grown and used the material for millennia in the development of their dress, its placement in the American South is particularly fraught with trauma.

Sporting Kente Cloth

Kente cloth is associated with the Asante ethnic group in present-day Ghana. Though the fabric was historically worn by royalty, it had become widely accessible by the late nineteenth century. Though kente cloth has long been associated with regality, it has also had an important influence on the global sportswear movement, starting with the 1964 Olympics and Muhammad Ali’s visit to Ghana and now utilized by the likes of Virgil Abloh and Nike.

Stephen Burrows

American designer Stephen Burrows was the first Black person to receive the prestigious Coty Award, and was also one of five American designers invited to participate in the so-called “Battle of Versailles” fashion show.

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the library

Re-Imagining African Diasporic Fashion

This reading list, complied by FRD Research and Editorial Intern Gillani Peets, discusses fashion’s place within discourses about the African Diaspora.

“African Diasporic Fashion is a defiant visual tradition rooted in redesigning testimonials of poetic writers, eternal improvisations of jazz maestros, radical artistry of painters, and political commentary of photographers. Transversed beyond time or land, this list reimagines the past, present, and future of African Diasporic fashion.”

Check out the latest reading list here.

black and white photo of young man in suit and sunglasses on a motorcycle

Photographed by Sanlé Sory. Yamaha de Nuit , 1972, Silver gelatin print 20 x 16 inches. Courtesy of Jackson Art Atlanta.

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