Many fashion designers have come under fire over the years for what is known as tokenism. Designer or editors will add one or two members on an underrepresented group to help them appear as inclusive and diverse, and to also help them give the illusion that they have equality. This idea of tokenism helps designers avoid accusations of racism, sexism, body shaming, etc.
The notion of global fashion industry is a product of the modern age. Prior to the mid-19th century, most clothing was custom-made. It was handmade for individuals, either as home production or on order from dressmakers and tailors. By the beginning of the 20th century—with the rise of new technologies such as the sewing machine, the rise of global capitalism and the development of the factory system of production, and the proliferation of retail outlets such as department stores—clothing had increasingly come to be mass-produced in standard sizes and sold at fixed prices.
The best way to understand the consumers' needs and therefore predict fashion trends is through market research. There are two research methods: primary and secondary. Secondary methods are taking other information that has already been collected, for example using a book or an article for research. Primary research is collecting data through surveys, interviews, observation, and/or focus groups.
A report from New York Fashion (Spring 2015) week found that while 79.69% of models on the runway were white, only 9.75% of models were black, 7.67% were Asian, and 2.12% were Latina. The lack of diversity also accounts for not only designers but models too, out of four hundred and seventy members of The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) only twelve of the members are black. From the same study on New York Fashion Week, it was shown that only 2.7% of the 260 designers presented were black men, and an even smaller percentage were black female designers. Even the relationship between independent designers and retailers can show the racial gap, only 1% of designers stocked at department stores being people of color. It was also found that in editorial spreads, over eighty percent of models pictured were white and only nine percent were black models. These numbers have stayed stagnant over the past few years.
Why: Hailing from Sao Paulo, Helena Bordon is one of Brazil’s most influential style bloggers. She started her fashion education from a young age courtesy of her mother, Donata Meirelles, the style director of Vogue Brazil. When Helena was just 7 years old, she’d join her mum at all the top fashion shows and eventually interned at Valentino. Now, Helena is co-founder of Brazilian high street fashion chain 284, as well as finding the time to run her eponymous blog, helenabordon.com, which offers Helena’s insider style, travel and beauty tips. Disclaimer: expect holiday envy.
Fashion relates to social and cultural context of an environment. According to Matika, "Elements of popular culture become fused when a person's trend is associated with a preference for a genre of music…like music, news or literature, fashion has been fused into everyday lives." Fashion is not only seen as pure aesthetic values; fashion is also a medium for performers to create an overall atmosphere and express their opinions altogether through music video. The latest music video ‘Formation’ by Beyoncé, according to Carlos, "The pop star pays homage to her Creole root.... tracing the roots of the Louisiana cultural nerve center from the post-abolition era to present day, Beyoncé catalogs the evolution of the city's vibrant style and its tumultuous history all at once. Atop a New Orleans police car in a red-and-white Gucci high-collar dress and combat boots, she sits among the ruins of Hurricane Katrina, immediately implanting herself in the biggest national debate on police brutality and race relations in modern day."
Even though they are often used together, the term fashion differs from clothes and costume, where the first describes the material and technical garment, whereas the second has been relegated to special senses like fancy-dress or masquerade wear. Fashion instead describes the social and temporal system that "activates" dress as a social signifier in a certain time and context. Philosopher Georgio Agamben connects fashion to the current intensity of the qualitative moment, to the temporal aspect the Greek called kairos, whereas clothes belong to the quantitative, to what the Greek called chronos.
Celebrities like Rihanna, Lupita Nyong'o, Zendaya, and Michelle Obama have been a few of the many fashion idols in the black female community. For men, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, and Ice Cube have also helped define modern day fashion for black men. Today’s fashion scene is not just clothes, but also hair and makeup. Recent trends have included the embracing of natural hair, traditional clothing worn with modern clothing, or traditional patterns used in modern clothing styles. All of these trends come with the long existing and persevering movement of “Black is Beautiful”.
^ Noricks, C. (2006). From style to strategy: An exploratory investigation of public relations practice in the fashion industry. Unpublished master's thesis, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA. in Cassidy, L. & Fitch, K. (2013) Beyond the Catwalk: Fashion Public Relations and Social Media in Australia, Asia Pacific Public Relations Journal, vol. 14, No. 1 & 2, Murdoch University.
Fashion public relations involves being in touch with a company's audiences and creating strong relationships with them, reaching out to media and initiating messages that project positive images of the company. Social media plays an important role in modern-day fashion public relations; enabling practitioners to reach a wide range of consumers through various platforms.
Additionally, there is a long history of fashion in West Africa. Cloth was used as a form of currency in trade with the Portuguese and Dutch as early as the 16th Century. Locally produced cloth and cheaper European imports were assembled into new styles to accommodate the growing elite class of West Africans and resident gold and slave traders. There was an especially strong tradition of cloth-weaving in Oyo and the areas inhabited by the Igbo people.