Retail as a Portal: Image-Making as a Blueprint for Systemic Change

by Holt Renfrew & Kimberly M. Jenkins


The Fashion and Race Database Conversation Series is launching with a three-part panel series entitled, ‘Retail as a Portal,’ that explores how retail can empower us to produce and consume with positive, social impact and ignite systemic change. This series is hosted by professor and Founder of The Fashion and Race Database, Kimberly Jenkins, and she will be joined by figures in the fashion constellation who are leading through visionary thinking and doing.

Kimberly Jenkins is Assistant Professor of Fashion Studies at Ryerson University, lecturing previously at Parsons School of Design and Pratt Institute. Kim became best known for designing a course and exhibition called Fashion and Race, and has shared her insights globally in industry forums and institutions. Her expertise on fashion history and infusing ‘race’ into fashion theory education has led to consulting work for Gucci, Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, the Centraal Museum along with other corporate brands and organizations. Kim is the founder of The Fashion and Race Database (, an online platform filled with open-source tools that expand the narrative of fashion history and challenge mis-representation within the fashion system.

Sir John is a dynamic force in the beauty and fashion industry, creating iconic looks with his signature use of color, luminance, and inclusive style. He developed his reputation as a Global Artist creating statement looks while working with industry moguls Pat McGrath and Charlotte Tilbury backstage at fashion shows worldwide. Sir John’s magnetic presence and unique creative approach has allowed him to work with some of the world’s most iconic women including Beyoncé, whose tone-setting signature looks Sir John has been trusted with since 2010. Over the course of his career, Sir John has helped shape the culture of the beauty industry, with his commitment to inclusivity and understanding the ever-changing needs of women. His leadership and passion for authenticity have driven him to champion an inside-out approach to beauty that helped make him the Global Ambassador and Consultant with L’Oréal Paris, as well as partnerships with numerous other brands including Glossier, MAC, Yves Saint Laurent, and Estée Lauder.

Yomi Abiola is the founder of The Fem League, a multimedia platform and incubator that provides a powerful perspective on women as creatives, leaders and entrepreneurs globally. Yomi operates as a strategic advisor and guide to leaders globally. She is a former creative director and model. As an international voice for Cultural Curiosity and inclusive leadership, Yomi has advised and presented at numerous organizations including Harvard, Yale, Milken Institute, MIT, the United Nations, The Wilson Center and TED. Yomi Abiola is a graduate of Columbia School of Journalism, Sciences Politiques Paris and Harvard. She currently serves as an associate to the UNESCO Chair for human rights as well as an MIT Legatum Catalyst. She is an editor at Vogue Italia online.

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