Everywhere and Nowhere: What it’s really like to be black and work in fashion

by Lindsay Peoples Wagner


In a season where 16 magazine covers feature black women, it may appear that things are starting to shift. This year’s CFDA awards were more diverse than ever. In fact, fashion is having a real love affair with “blackness” right now. The appointments of Virgil Abloh as men’s artistic director at Louis Vuitton and Edward Enninful as editor-in-chief at British Vogue are legitimate milestones. But I cannot help but wonder, in an industry that prizes progressiveness, is this just another fad? I surveyed more than 100 black individuals, from assistants to executives, stylists, celebrities, models, and everyone in between. Plenty of names you might recognize declined to participate, and several cited fear as the reason. But I also had some of the most authentic, and often tearful, conversations about the pains of racism I’ve ever had.

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