A group of black stylists, make-up artists, and hairstylists have come together to form a non-profit that will support and protect black creatives within the fashion and beauty industry.
As protests continue internationally demanding justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others who were fatally injured at the hands of police brutality, the Black Lives Matter movement has also been addressing other drawbacks in society, including the lack of representation within the fashion and beauty industries.
Striving to enact some much-needed change, a group of black makeup artists, hairstylists and fashion stylists have established the Black Fashion & Beauty Collective, a nonprofit organisation that sheds light on black creatives in the fashion, beauty, and entertainment industries who are often given less support and/or recognition compared to their white counterparts.
Co-founded by Jason Rembert and Lacy Redway, The Black Fashion & Beauty Collective will serve as a kind of “black glam union” for behind-the-scenes creatives, stylist and board member of the collective Jason Bolden told Business of Fashion.
“It’s us being able to own our blackness and also let people know we’ve had enough and this is what it is going to like going forward,” he said to BOF.
The collective's aims are simple, to influence forward progression within the industry.
It will work to create education and career advancement opportunities for aspiring creatives, develop industry diversification standards for brands, and provide community and resources to support its members.
The Black Fashion & Beauty Collective will also focus on charitable endeavours, kicking things off with a partnership with organisation My Block, My Hood, My City to provide support for businesses affected as a result of the high tension surrounding police brutality.
This follows an Instagram video posted by supermodel Joan Smalls in which she spoke about her experiences in the fashion industry using the hashtag #WeAreNotATrend.
“I don’t need validation from an industry that casts me as the token black girl while ignoring my whole cultural identity,” Smalls said.
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The recent and long standing acts against the black community have been saddening, frustrating and unacceptable. I feel these same emotions when I think about how my industry, the fashion world, is responding. It is time for this industry to do more than post a black square and say they’ll “Do Better!” It’s time for us to see the change starting from the ground up. Give us a seat at the table, include us, give us a chance, because we are worthy, talented and unique. There have been so many times where I’ve had to face issues against my race within this industry because I was their token black girl. The campaigns and editorials I had to share while my counterparts got to achieve that on their own. Or that my hair was an issue or that I made a show or campaign too ethnic, the list goes on and on. This industry that I love has profited from us but has never considered us equal. This. Stops. Now. It’s time for the fashion industry to stand up and show their solidarity. Time for you all to give back to these communities and cultures which you draw so much inspiration from. I do want to thank those that did see me for me and gave me a chance. Those that helped me fight my way to where I am today. Thank you, thank you for doing what you knew to be right versus what others said should be done. You will help us be the leaders of change. In saying all of this, I also pledge to donate 50% of my salary for the remainder of 2020 to Black Lives Matter organizations. I know I can’t just talk about change, I have to be a force for it. I encourage and will continue to encourage brands within this industry to do the same and give back. Let’s all be the change we want and need to see. These battles are long from over but together we’re stronger and together we can accomplish what is needed. #WeAreNotATrend #blacklivesmatter
“What I do need is recognition of the systemic issues — the issues that arise from top to bottom within the industry, from photographers not wanting to shoot me because there’s no need to shoot a black girl to the magazines, brands, and agencies who continue to work with people of that mindset.”
Alongside co-founders Rembert and Redway, the Collective’s board members include Rachel Johnson, Wayman + Micah, Kesha McLeod, Apuje Kalu, Jessica Smalls, Ashunta Sheriff-Kendricks, Jason Bolden, and Nai’vasha.
They are welcoming other black creatives in the glam space to join in support of their mission as they work towards changing the industry to be a more inclusive space.
To learn more about the Black Fashion & Beauty Collective, go to their official website here.
Main image by @jourdandunn