The database centers and amplifies the voices of those who have been racialized in fashion, illuminates under-examined histories, and addresses racism throughout the fashion system. We provide lessons and resources that diversify how we understand fashion, creating a roadmap for lasting change in the fashion system.
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Thanks to the generosity of anonymous and corporate supporters who believe in elevating underrepresented voices in fashion, we have a limited Scholarship Fund for students or others who indicate an economic hardship to subscribing to The Fashion and Race Database. Please see this link for more information.
The Library is the heart of the database, and the most popular and widely-used section. We collected and organized countless sources — from academic journals to pop-culture podcast interviews — all in one place. This relational database allows you to explore the metadata of 1600+ external resources through a taxonomy of thematic keywords, publication decade or year, and/or author. It also offers five dozen suggested Reading Lists, which are smaller, curated sets of iconic resources on a particular theme in fashion studies. Referenced by educators, students and curious minds, The Library is an ever-expanding selection of tools for learning about all matters connected to fashion, appearance and race.
In addition, each subscriber account can curate their own collections of resources (in “My List”) which can be emailed or saved for later reference, and thus used to supplement a syllabus or research plan.
Objects That Matter
One of the highlights of FRD’s original content is our exclusive series, ‘Objects That Matter,’ in which a particular object of cultural heritage (such as African kente cloth, or a gele, or Indian bindi, or Japanese kimono) is featured in its respective original context, and then compared with its widespread influence, or appropriation by the Western fashion industry. The result is an invaluable body of case studies in respectful application, as well as problematic missteps in the past and the controversies they generated.
This dedicated section provides an abbreviated knowledge of select racialized people who have shaped the history and business of fashion in the face of structural racism and adversity. Non-racialized, notable figures who have shaped the “fashion and race” discourse are also considered.
Essays & News
We publish original content that amplifies the voices of racialized scholars, students, artists, archivists, curators and business professionals. This includes a roundup of current issues ‘In the News’ and our photo essay series, ‘Our Fashion History.’ Contributions from our ally scholars, practitioners and professionals are also welcome.
There are hundreds of like-minded people and endeavors progressing a connected discourse on fashion and race. This section catalogues various outside resources, practitioners, collectives and diversity initiatives. Essentially, we spotlight the many others who are “doing the work.”
Public events, exhibitions, and conversations will continue to evolve the discourse on fashion and race. FRD stays on top of what other organizations are publicizing and inviting the public to attend. By following The Calendar, you’ll remain on the pulse of what’s going on.
When outside organizations announce a call for submissions, invitations to participants, job postings, or other opportunities to collaborate, we assemble them in one place to check.