Lindsay Peoples Wagner, an editor for The Cut, wrote a powerful and realistic article titled, “What It’s Really Like To Be Black and Work In Fashion.” The article begins with her explaining a time when HR warned her she would never be hired in the fashion world if she had a frame “Every Nigga Is a Star” in a frame on the background of her profile picture.
“I tried to laugh it off, but it stung,” she wrote in her article. “How far have we really come in fashion if a black woman I’ve never met is advising me to dim my blackness so that I can continue to have a seat at the table?”
The article goes on to explain she was proud of the frame. After all, it was a feature on Into The Gloss. And, she makes a valid point that the song “Every Nigger Is a Star” played during the Council of Fashion Designers of America/Vogue Fashion Fund 2018 finalist Pyer Moss’s fall-winter 2018 show.
“Issa Rae then wore one of Moss’s jumpsuits with the phrase embroidered on a black satin sash at the CFDA Fashion awards, as the first person of color to host it in its 37-year history,” she wrote.
But what she wrote next in The Cut article helps us explain why our #ReflectMeLike is so meaningful to us.
“It all makes sense once you see that behind the scenes, on sets for magazine covers, in castings for runways, and on the teams chosen to create multimillion-dollar ad campaigns, black people are rarely to be found in positions of power. There have never been more than one or two black editors-in-chief of any major U.S. magazines, and only one black designer leading a major American fashion brand. And, up until this month, no black photographer had ever shot the cover of Vogue. Only 15 of the 495 CFDA members are black, and only ten black designers have ever won a CFDA or CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award. One of the most popular and financially successful black designers, Tracy Reese, has never received a single nod. Less than 10 percent of the 146 fashion designers who showed at the major fall 2018 shows for New York Fashion Week were black, and only 1,173 black models out of 7,608 model castings walked.”
Those are some sickening statements – but they are all facts. Not one black photographer for Vogue? How is that possible? I asked multiple people if they know who Tracy Reese was. And the majority of the people didn’t even know anything about her or what she looked like besides that she is a designer.
The major question from the world and from Lindsay seems to be, “Where am I? Where are people like me?” How can the fashion and creative world show more of “me?”
That’s exactly what we, WhatRUWearing, was aiming for when we released the campaign. Lindsay’s article and statistics back up the major inclusion problem that is happening in the industry. Everyone deserves to see themselves in some way reflected.
But what Lindsay did next proves why #ReflectMeLike is so important. She surveyed over 100 black professionals in the creative industry. While some declined, which she said was often due to fear, many had important stories, important points, and important reasons to join this movement.
We highly encourage you to read all of Lindsay’s comments in her survey, as well as her entire article. Through it, you can really get a glimpse of what is going on if you don’t already feel strongly about it. After reading the comments, we can guarantee you will take a larger stance on inclusivity. The article is brilliant, raw, factual, and above all, educational. We must be aware of what is going on, but we have to support the change and make it possible.
As a creative minded company that is unapologetic in voicing our opinions on important and provocative topics, we demand inclusion in the creative and fashion world. Our team, which includes Farissa Knox, Mary Melnikov, Staci Wuokko, Rashima Sampson and Gabriela Irizarry, are all women made of different backgrounds.
We created #ReflectMeLike, which pledges to highlight diversity and acknowledges our responsibility as content creators to be inclusive.
To incorporate the importance, we brought the campaign to life by highlighting some of the most iconic magazines, and paying homage to the influential female pop culture superstars who have graced the covers. Founder and CEO, Farissa Knox explained, “It is the beginning of a new era. The era in which it is no longer a big deal, or even something to be celebrated that all types of people, women, men, transgender and everyone else, sees reflections of themselves in the art, content and entertainment we, as the media, produce.”
“(#)ReflectMeLike means we, as content consumers, are done letting other people show us our reflection from their perspective. Our ultimate goal is to create, produce and offer content that everyone can see themselves in.”
The event featured the women of WhatRUWearing in a museum-like, chic showcase at the company’s headquarters. Each attraction featured an employee on a cover of a magazine, recreating the most iconic magazine covers from some of the biggest female celebrities in the world. The original magazines were also on display.
You can see how the event went down and the final images by clicking here. Together, we can all take a step in the right direction. There don’t need to be more articles like Lindsay’s. There need to be more articles about individuals seeing someone like them. Someone they can look up to. Someone they can consider a mentor. But right now, inclusion a real problem in this industry. Don’t forget to tell us how you want to be reflected in the fashion and creative world by using #ReflectMeLike.