With June's #BLM protests fresh in fashion's minds, a new initiative has been launched to support Black designers in the industry: Black Fashion Fair. Founded by archivist and stylist Antoine Gregory, Black Fashion Fair includes a Black designer directory, fashion editorials and limited-edition exclusive pieces from Pyer Moss, No Sesso, Theophilio and more.
Hosted online, Black Fashion Fair will release monthly fashion stories, which highlight Black designers through editorial and film - spaces in which they would otherwise be noticeably absent. The archive of these stories will document and preserve Black fashion and style, in contrast to an industry that allows designers and their work to slip through the cracks of time.
What's more, each designer highlighted will also produce an exclusive product of their choice for the story. The proceeds from these collaborations will fund Black Fashion Fair community and educational initiatives.
In addition to the fashion stories, there will also be an online fashion fair - a conceptual retail concept in which pieces from these designers have been carefully curated by Gregory himself. The first fair takes place today, 18 September 2020, at 10:00 EST (15:00 BST) and features designers including: Pyer Moss, Aliette, No Sesso, Nizole Zizi, Theophilio, Phlemuns, and Fe Noel.
Black Fashion Fair has also created a comprehensive directory highlighting Black designers in different areas of design, from fashion to accessories, footwear and costume, which will be ever-evolving, as new design talent emerges. With designers from Anne Lowe–who made Jackie Kennedy's wedding dress–to Salehe Bembury–the king of sneaker culture–to Ruth E. Carter–Oscar-winning costume designer for Black Panther (2018)–the directory is a way to discover and get in touch with Black designers.
Being an inclusive community, designers can submit to be a part of Black Fashion Fair fashion stories, directory and more, and emerging designers and design students can submit their portfolio for review by industry professionals.
'As diversity and inclusion become more important than ever, it is compulsory that we tell the stories of Black designers; past, present, and future. It is important that we have a say in how we are included and that we own the cultural information we put forth into the world. With Black Fashion Fair, I want to reclaim the narratives around Black contributions to fashion,' said Gregory.
Aside from running Black Fashion Fair, archiving and styling, Antoine Gregory is a SHOWstudio contributor, having hosted panels and filmed live reviews of the New York shows.