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Op-Ed | What It’s Like Being a Black Fashion Intern

by Jasmine Burgos & Abigail Cherubin & Christopher Akitonde

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F.U.B.U. by Solange played in the background of the fashion closet while we unpacked garment bags of ready-to-wear for the next day’s photoshoot. Beyond the samples, we also unpacked cultural phenomena ranging from blackfishing on Instagram to Barry Jenkins’ stunning portrayal of Black love in Moonlight. Inside of the fashion closet, we cultivated a sacred space where we felt safe, bonded together not only by our blackness, but by our visions of what the fashion industry could be.

Each time we stepped out of this sacred space, however, we were confronted with the sobering reality that no person sitting in the rows of desks that spanned the office looked like us. This visual disparity between the intern closet and the main staff made us question the possibility of advancing within an inherently exclusive industry; it also motivated us to work three times harder to ensure we’d get a seat at the table, so that one day we could build our own.

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