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

Essays & News

Issue 07: News Roundup, July 23, 2021

In Issue 07 of In the News, we consider how the pandemic brought attention to often overlooked labor issues, explore the problematic gap between consumer intention and action, spotlight the first couture collection by a Black American fashion designer, and examine the politics of policies that dictate public appearance.

Read the latest issue.

Photograph of factory workers at sewing machines

“Ando International garment factory (Better Work Vietnam)” by ILO in Asia and the Pacific is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Tommy Hilfiger partners with The Fashion and Race Database

The People’s Place Program will partner with FRD to fund and support a new research study called ‘The Unsung History of American Sportswear’ to uncover overlooked influences from Black American culture on signature TOMMY HILFIGER styles. Over the course of 2021, the research will be developed into content series and educational resources that will be available internally, and to industry peers and consumers. The material will be designed to engage with audiences about the unrecognized areas of American style, and to open new dialogue on how marginalized history can come forward through purposeful collaborations in the industry.” Read the full press statement on the PVH website.

Water color styled title page (pink, blue, and green)

Tommy Hilfiger’s People’s Place was established in Elmira, New York, 1971. Image credit:

Featured Content

The Racist Underbelly of Instagram Moodboards

As many fashion brands begin to shift their messaging to be more diverse and inclusive, niche communities are forming around the images of the past. Nostalgia marketing is becoming ubiquitous within the industry. Kathryn C. considers how the form of the Instagram moodboard is aestheticizing problematic elements of the past under the guise of “good taste.”

The Transorientalist Nature of the Blue-and-White Porcelain Aesthetic

The aesthetic of blue-and-white porcelain, when used by Western designers, is often perceived as a form of neo-chinoiserie that appropriates and bastardizes porcelain in a form of colonial power. The appeal and celebration of Chinese cultural identity in these items suggest that they align better with the history of China and its visual traditions. However, this is a notion that should be challenged.

The Problem with All-Black Castings

Diversity should be made intrinsic to a brand’s ethos and an ongoing conversation, not just an aesthetic, after which ads and campaigns go back to lily-white casting once calls for diversity have been quelled.

The Ebony Fashion Fair

The Ebony Fashion Fair brought the colorful fashion pages of Ebony magazine to people across the United States for 51 years.


Şalvar are baggy trousers that formed part of the dress of the Turks who came to Anatolia in the eleventh century C.E. and continue to be worn today.


A ch’uspa (in Quechua) or huallqepo (in Aymara) is a bag used in the Andes to carry dried coca leaves since at least the beginning of the first millennium CE.

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Reading List

Decolonizing Sustainable Fashion

The necessity to create a more sustainable fashion industry has become increasingly eminent in the past decade or so. Yet the movement for sustainable fashion has remained a largely white phenomenon, inaccessible to most. This reading list offers a series of resources that share ideas on how to build a more just and sustainable fashion industry that works for larger and more inclusive groups of people. To do so, it is essential that we build an intersectional movement that goes beyond conscious consumption, question the dominant aesthetics in sustainable fashion discourses, adopt a decolonial perspective that reverses counterproductive interventions, and find strategies to create ethical and sustainable partnerships between designers and manufacturers from different countries. Compiled by FRD Researcher, Laura Beltrán-Rubio.

Check out the latest reading list.

Woman in red long sleeve and blue denim jeans sitting and working on a weaving loom

Photo by Ralph Labay. Woman in red long sleeve and blue denim jeans sitting, 2020.

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