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Black Fashion Is Fashion History: Meet Three Women Preserving Style Innovators’ Stories

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In many ways, preserving the true breadth of Black fashion history is a race against time. For too long, Black designers, models, agencies, innovators, muses, and trends have been sidelined and swept under the rug in favor of maintaining a skewed version of our shared sartorial record—one that relegates Black contributions to footnotes and asides. While recent exhibits like the Cooper Hewitt’s “Willi Smith: Street Couture” and Red Bull Arts’ “Akeem Smith: No Gyal Can Test” highlight Black fashion innovation both on and off the runway, there are infinitely more stories to be told.

Thankfully, there’s a growing crop of Black fashion historians who are dedicated to unearthing these stories before they’re gone. Hobbyists and academics alike, they’re sharing images, writing books, recording podcasts, and shining a long-overdue spotlight on unsung style stories around the world. Below, in their own words, three of these historians on the crucial work they do.

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