Welcome. As a fashion educator teaching fashion history and theory, I spent years combing through resources to teach and enhance my Fashion and Race course at Parsons School of Design. During this process (which began in 2016), I discovered that research about diverse fashion history was scattered, and dedicated research on the intersection of fashion and race was sparse. I decided to build my own library of diverse content and resources, and The Fashion and Race Database was born.
The goal for the database is to center and amplify the voices of those who have been racialized (and thus marginalized) in fashion, illuminate under-examined histories and address racism throughout the fashion system. What’s more, this platform will provide hands-on research and publishing opportunities to students, scholars and writers both concerned with–and invested in–dismantling racism and bringing critical stories to light. This is a global effort that involves racialized participants as well as non-racialized allies. And we’re not stopping there.
The Fashion and Race and Database provides a roadmap for lasting change in the fashion industry, it will offer lessons and resources that diversify how we understand fashion and it will develop an interactive platform for those who agree that it’s time to take on dominant narratives and insensitive behavior in fashion.
This work matters and is relevant now more than ever.
This educational and supportive platform applies pressure to outdated and oppressive ways of thinking, and uplifts the stories and histories that need to be told.
Participants and stakeholders within the fashion system–which encompasses designers, C-suite executives, educators, students, magazine editors, museum curators, the modelling industry and more–can benefit from a dedicated, educational resource that reveals the inextricable link between ‘race,’ power, privilege and aesthetics.
In essence, it is time to decentralize our understanding of fashion and build a more culturally intelligent and empowering system.
Yours in service and solidarity,
Kimberly M. Jenkins
Founder, Director and Principal Researcher