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Disclaimer: I have submitted this piece to the website Business of Fashion as an Op-Ed. If they decide to publish it, I will be taking it down here and posting the link.


Lupita Nyong’o has appeared on red carpet after red carpet since the premier of Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave. Nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Globes this month, Nyong’o was subsequently passed over as Academy favorite, Jennifer Lawrence took home the award for her performance in American Hustle. This lit a new spark in the on-going discussions surrounding race and the entertainment industry. I use it as an opening here to discuss Lupita’s break into the fashion world and what that means for women of color with dark skin.

Lupita has recently appeared on the covers of Dazed & Confused, W, and Vanity Fair magazines. Recently, Vanity Fair has been accused of lightening Nyong’o’s skin for the cover photo. Once again, showing us what a sensitive and poignant topic race is in the entertainment industry. Some believe that the lightening was due to bright lighting on set while others think that the lightening of her skin was a deliberate attempt to make her look like she has lighter skin.


Lupita has also scored a campaign with high fashion brand Miu Miu which was shocking. Founder, Miuccia Prada who is also creative director of Prada has some of the most consecutively white runways during fashion week and has hardly had any people of color in Miu Miu campaigns. The last were Chinese actresses Zhou Xun and Dong Jie in 2006. There has never been a Black woman featured in a Miu Miu campaign, let alone one with very dark skin.


It is worth noting that we see models with dark skin being used in editorials that are deemed alternative and artistic. Almost never do we see them creatively directed for wearable and relatable looks. This is because it is impossible for the demographic that is wealthy white women to see a woman with dark skin as relatable. Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie mentioned once that as she flips through a magazine, she sees women of color who could be seen as bi-racial, but no one who us undeniably Black, with dark skin, that looks like her. The same goes for beauty advertisements.


This leaves dark skinned women and girls with a complex about their skin because white skin is normalized. A Black woman with dark skin cannot be chosen simply for her beauty and talent. She must also be so exceptional that she beats out all of her other very beautiful and deserving Black peers for the opportunity to land a high fashion campaign or a fashion glossy cover. Where as a white woman has many opportunities to be cast, a Black woman does not. If she is competing with Black women with lighter skin, her chances are even slimmer.


One of the blogs that I follow on tumblr, a black woman who blogs mostly about fashion, made a post stating that if she had seen a woman who looked like Lupita on the cover of Vogue when she was younger, she “wouldn’t have had as many hang ups about her looks” as she did growing up. As a dark skinned black woman myself, I have to agree. The lack of dark skinned girls my age that I saw in Teen Vogue and Limited Too catalogs (along with other colorism issues I faced as a child) played a huge part in my self esteem.


There are the amazing Essence and Ebony magazines who feature dark skinned women. However, they are lifestyle magazines created specifically for the African American market (because there was virtually no media that showcased Black people in a positive or creative light) that simply include fashion in the issues. They are not fashion publications. They are not about the art of fashion design and showcasing what is supposed to be the pinnacle of beauty. And while Essence and Ebony do not discriminate against dark-skinned women, the people featured on the cover are Black celebrities. Their celebrity is determined by the entertainment industry’s mere tolerance for Blackness.


It is past time for women with dark skin to be included in the magazine pages and web pages that reflect what the fashion industry considers to be beautiful. As a result, we have the gorgeous Lupita shining like the star that she is and also shining a light on the need for representation of women with dark skin not only on covers and in campaigns, but in the fashion industry in general. Hopefully the discussions had by the public at this time stay in the mind of casting directors and fashion industry leaders, respectively.

Ann Demeulemeester is leaving the house. Who is gonna take over? Any ideas?

eatdacakeannamae:

Okay @nastygal. (Reclaimed and #vintage #leather is the only kind I like, btw. Before anyone starts lol) #chanel

(Source: whatisthat-velvet)

ecobird:

The beautiful, fair trade organic cotton ‘Shadow Dress’ online now at WWW.ECOBIRD.NET.

So my birthday dress got here yesterday.

eatdacakeannamae:

I’m calling it that because I got it as a birthday gift to myself, I doubt I wear it on my birthday. I’m probably just going to get plastered in which case I’m wearing jeans and sneakers. I won’t be bringing this dress out for a while, I don’t think. Anyway, when I opened the box and touched it, I could immediately tell I was holding something expensive. Kind of like when I got my first piece of Calvin Klein. So I was excited before I even saw it. I took it out, tried it on. It could do with a bit of tailoring. Because I’m so tiny. However, I’m planning on putting on sme weight and building some muscle mass, so i’m not going to have alterations made until then.

Now for the interesting part:

IT’S SO PRETTY :D

It’s Jil Sander.

imageimage

Hard to pinpoint what era, but I’m thinking mid 2000s around when Raf took the reigns. I can’t be sure, but it looks like him more than Jil. And it’s too well designed to have been what the house scrapped together that time Jil left and no one was there to take her place yet.

Anyway:

I bought it from The Real Real which is an online luxury resale boutique.

It’s a one-shoulder a-symmetrical dress with a drop-hem and it has zipper detailing on the front, back below the waistline.

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(the back)

I live for exposed zippers and there are quite a few of them on the dress. That was what sold me on purchasing it in the first place. But to add to the majestic quality of the it, the hardware is fully functional. The zippers all completely unzip. Which means I can show skin on my chest, my back, my legs and it gives the dress a lot of character and dimension. It really fits my aesthetic and style because it’s feminine, but not in an overtly. Not curve hugging and tight and slinky (not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just like clothes that accentuate what little curves I have in a way that isn’t that obvious. That’s just me).

It’s definitely a piece that I’ll be wearing for years to come and I like the security of that since I spent a pretty penny on it. It also made me feel more secure in my personal style. It has been a journey trying to figure out exactly who I am and what I want to convey when I dress. When I first started writing about fashion, I had no clue who I was when it came to dressing myself. I could review a collection just fine, but I was still figuring out who I was when it came to my own wardrobe. It took years to understand how to dress for my build, my height and my skin tone. When I was in college in my fashion journalism course, writing fashion stories was a big part of that class. I could do it on paper well enough to ace my final, but it was different telling a story with my own wardrobe. And now I can dress as well as shop without second guessing myself. This purchase was proof of that.

I say all of that to say, for this being my first big designer piece that I’ve ever bought with the hard-earned money that I slaved for, I am pleased.

(Source: whatisthat-velvet)

unitedinourfuckedupness:

Chris Saunders - Troublesome Kids

(via blackfashion)

fysoojoopark:

Soo Joo by Marton Perlaki for Oyster #102

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Christopher Bailey is now to be creative director as well as chief executive of Burberry. Shares have plummeted already. I’m a bit worried that if they don’t find someone to handle financial matters, designs will suffer and in turn, so will sales. Let’s hope for the best.

ecobird:

Who makes what you wear? The Fair TRACE TOOL is a new technology designed to help customers reconnect with the journey of the garment they are buying, who made it, where, and how your purchase has helped enchance their lives. Jump over to www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-fair-trace-tool to check it out abd help fund it. xx