• Olivia Hansen

Black Lives Matter - More than just a trend

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

Angela Davis - "It's not enough to be not racist, you must now be actively anti-racist".

You’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t realised that what’s going on right now will be in the history books. People are angry, and rightly so. George Floyd was murdered on the 25th of May at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers. A bystander captured George's last breath from their iPhone with the video going viral, forcing each and everyone of us to live through this mans last breath. This tragic event brought to our attention the reoccurring police brutality, and systemic racism that operates throughout, not only America, but outside our own door. Demonstrations and protests have become a daily occurrence around the world, and on Tuesday last week we saw social media become engulfed in black squares for #blackouttuesday.

As a white woman and an anti-racist, I feel that it is important to use my voice to highlight the lack of diversity, and the need for change within the fashion industry. Over the past couple of days I have been educating myself and learning about why speaking out has never been more important. Black Lives Matter and #blackouttuesday are not fleeting trends to discuss and forget about, this is a movement that we must continue, to educate ourselves, others, and have uncomfortable conversations with our peers about. We need to make sure the conversation doesn't die down, but stays alight and as bright as ever. I also want to bring awareness of the ongoing problems within the industry. While I realise that I have never used my voice to bring attention to these issues before, I had not looked deep enough into these problems. While there is still a lot I can still learn, I want to thank the Black Lives Matter movement for pointing me in the right direction of where we need to be heading.

Fashion perspective:

Contributing editor at Harpers Bazaar, Chrissy Rutherford explained that, “one of the best ways to support Black people right now, in addition to shopping Black-owned businesses, is to elevate Black voices and creators on social media platforms.” Rutherford’s article point’s to how the majority of top fashion and beauty faces we see across the world are white, with Instagram influencers also fitting into this reality. Please read her article on, “90+ Black creators, influencers and tastemakers to follow right now”.

HFT (High Fashion Talk) Group is one of the many publications bring to light the discrimination within the fashion industry. In a recent Instagram post they discussed this issue with statistics.

  • In 2019, for New York, Paris and Milan only 1 out of the top 10 models was black - Adut Akech.

Some of the major offenders (based off most recent shows):

  • Chanel = 5.5% of models were black

  • Celine = 8.1% black

  • Junya Watanabe = 7.1% black

  • Daniela Gregis = 0% black

HFT Group compiled data from 745 cover appearances across 51 major fashion publications in 2019, and only 37.7 featured POC (people of colour). I was extremely shocked to find out that, “there is no Vogue for the continent of Africa (excluding Vogue South Africa which is widely serving of the white population), with a population of 1.2 billion people BUT there is a Vogue for Portugal with a readership of under 100,000. These statistics, do not add up. Something must be done to change how fashion has been projected, and must start being inclusive to all countries and races.

I would like to share with you accounts that have spread useful advice and steps on how you can further educate yourself that I have found online. While these are only a few links of the hundreds of fantastic ones out there, it is a place to start. (Click on images for links to the relevant pages)

5 things white people can do to fight white supremacy in the UK

(Credit: @scrapbook138)

Films to watch (Credit: @graziauk)

Black-owned businesses to buy from in the UK (Credit: @emames7)

100 Resources to educate yourself on black oppression, injustice & everyday experiences (Credit: @sarahmian)

10 Steps To Non-Optical Allyship (Credit: @mireillecharper)

Here are ways non-black people can socially transition into a long-term movement (Credit: @lily.someson)

White people, we have homework to do, by @nataliebyrne

(Credit: @womenofillustration)

A selection of books to educate yourself on racism and injustice, as well as a list of black owned bookstores to support (Credit: @cerealmag)

Please feel free to comment links and books that you have found helpful when educating yourself

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