The Fashion and Race Database was established as a space to amplify the voices of those who have been racialized (and thus marginalized) in fashion, to illuminate under-examined histories, and to address racism throughout the fashion system. Our team also prides itself on providing research and publishing opportunities to students, scholars, and writers concerned with dismantling racism and decentralizing the narrative of fashion history.
FRD has been reader-supported since its inception, and through the generosity and support of our community, in 2021, we were able to publish 8 Objects That Matter, 3 Profiles, 7 essays, 15 Issues of In the News, and 47 Reading Lists. We also added hundreds of resources to our first-of-its-kind Library.
As The Fashion and Race Database prepares to enter the next phase of our growth, our team will be on an extended winter hiatus through February 2022. In the meantime, we’ll be working in the background to ensure that the database continues to lead the way in enacting lasting change in the fashion industry. If you are interested in getting involved with The Fashion and Race Database in 2022 and beyond, reach out to our team today!
Rights and Rituals: The Making of African American Debutante Culture
On view through February 27, 2022 at the California African American Museum, “Rights and Rituals: The Making of African American Debutante Culture” investigates the origins of these social organizations and the ways they supported young Black women’s participation in vital, albeit sometimes understated, race work. Through photographs, objects, and ephemera, the exhibition explores the foundational ideas of W.E.B. Du Bois’s racial uplift movement and how African American social organizations melded upliftment ideologies with established European debutante traditions to create a unique cultural phenomenon that persists to this day. With a focus on the 1880s to the transformative decades of the 1950s and 1960s, Rights and Rituals looks specifically at how Black debutante culture developed in the West and offers a new perspective on its participants’ contributions, both visible and invisible, to the fight for civil rights.
This week’s 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. “
Photographed by Sanlé Sory. Yamaha de Nuit , 1972, Silver gelatin print 20 x 16 inches. Courtesy of Jackson Art Atlanta.
Essays & News
Issue 15: News Roundup, November 26, 2021
Rounding out our final In the News Issue for 2021, we examine the complexities of tackling cultural beauty standards in imagemaking, barriers to diversity in the jewelry industry, and the extraordinary impact of fashion overproduction.