By: Sophia Danner-Okotie, Creative Director, www.shopbesida.com
Many celebrities used the AMA’s to encourage voting during the midterm elections. Tracee Ellis Ross used her platform to encourage the support of black designers.
If you didn’t watch the American Music Awards on October 9th, you more than likely caught some of the red carpet looks through your social media feeds. Arguably, the best dressed at the show was not a guest, but the host, Tracee Ellis Ross. The actress emceed the award show for the second year in a row. While she had many unforgettable moments on stage, one statement is stitched in my memory. “I will feature black designers in all of my looks tonight.”
The Black-ish star’s position was equally as historic as Taylor Swift’s record breaking AMA awards. She placed 12 well deserving black designers on the national stage, including Pyer Moss, Cushine, Deshon, Shanel Campbell, LavieByCk, and Sergio Hudson. This kind of position defies a culture where celebrities flaunt major fashion houses like Louis Vuitton, Versace, and Givenchy at award shows. Could Ellis Ross’ stance change the way we represent and buy black fashion brands?
I believe so, and we’ve seen it work before. We certainly stood behind Michael Jordan and made his shoes one of the coolest kicks in history. Though the ex-baller’s brand is housed under Nike, its success proves one fact: when black people are united the results are limitless.
In order to propel black fashion brands, celebrities should stand with Tracee, and continue backing black designers. This trend must also trickle down to black consumers doing the same. Eventually, the rest of the world will follow suit, because we are undeniably the greatest trendsetters in modern history.
Most importantly, stop cheating your local black creators, and pay the ticketed price. Do you ask Burberry why their scarves are $300? If you’re proud of of paying high amounts for your designer pieces, be just as proud to give the full price to the black designer who probably invested more time and effort. Their process is valid as well.
All great fashion houses started somewhere. Many grew popular through celebrity endorsements, and fans consequently wanting to “get the look.” This change won’t happen overnight, but there’s no better time to start than now.