There's Andre Leon Talley of Vogue and Elaine Welteroth, formerly of Teen Vogue; Edward Enninful of British Vogue and Lindsay Peoples Wagner, the newest EIC at Teen Vogue. When it comes to certain industries, it seems like we hear about the same game-changers over and over again - but there has to be more, right?
Seeing black people represented in fashion can be difficult to say the least, especially in the powerful role of editor. Until very recently, the fashion space held little regard for voices of color in writing, for expansions of tones in the office, or for diversity in the pages of a glossy magazines. It's not only important to have people of color in these positions, but as a community, it's also integral that we shower them in love and support. It's a commonly understood feeling to be the "only one", but these ladies are opening the doors for younger women with every step forward.
As we pop from one fashion month into another, here are several power players to follow on Instagram:
Senior Digital Fashion Editor and Special Projects Director, Talent & Social at Harper's Bazaar
"I think from the outside, the fashion industry is always going to look glitzy and glamorous. But you have to really be willing to do the work because being an editor is not easy, whether you're an assistant or a senior editor. It's not just about going to parties and getting gifts. I think passion always shines through for those who are sincere about this business and the art of storytelling."
Stylist Costume Designer (Insecure), Contributing Editor; former Cosmo Fashion Market Director
"Know your history. Especially in fashion and beauty, where trends are so cyclical and reoccurring. It's not possible to know everything but you are that much more valuable if you know a little about everything or everything about a particular subject. It really shows the depth of care and passion for what you do. Also, maintain relationships everywhere. As industries collide in the digital era, you never know who you'll be working alongside and what you'll be inclined to work on.
"To be in a predominantly white space as an editor, sometimes felt incredibly isolating, but I was also empowered by a history, perspective, and understanding of Black culture that others didn't have. The industry has changed significantly since I first joined. Most of it has been a positive change and we've seen a great increase in diversity. Still, I and many of my black and brown friends find ourselves in challenging positions where race and the harmful portrayal of it in the industry is concerned. It's important to know that your perspective is valid and desired. If you are excited about an idea, concept, product, or business, you can bring them into the light. Don't be afraid to fill the gaps where you see them, and stand your ground and raise your voice when something doesn't sit right with you."
Beauty Director at Yahoo Lifestyle
"I always tell aspiring editors that consistently reading good writing is what makes a good editor. Immerse yourself in the works of those you are inspired by, as well as writing from a genre that is totally out of your realm. This helps to not only expand your thinking (brainstorming is a 24/7 process as an editor), but you'll also learn how to articulate your thoughts.
"I also strongly encourage interning or freelancing — even if it's not a paid opportunity. Sometimes you have to be willing to sacrifice not making money to acquire new skills that will truly pay off in the future. So, soak up as much knowledge as you can and challenge yourself by taking on assignments you would normally pass up.
"Working in a predominately white space as a black editor has its pros and cons. Naturally, I've experienced a range of emotions — from being isolated and misunderstood to feeling as though I must speak on behalf of my entire community. But I've managed to use my platform to produce positive results by educating my colleagues on matters and topics they aren't aware of, and even advocating for the recruitment and hiring of more black editors and writers. Our voices do matter, and it's time that we control our narrative."
Check out some other black editors (present and former) that should be on your radar by clicking through the slideshow below.
Kahlana Barfield Brown - Former 'InStyle' Fashion Editor-At-Large
Featured image via Shiona Turini/Instagram