Black Fashion Insiders On Breaking The System

Dapper Dan, Brittney Escovedo and Dario Calmese discuss systemic racism in the fashion industry.

By Jill Di Donato, Huffington Post

What does it mean to break the fashion system? First, you’ve got to acknowledge there is one. Pioneering designer Dapper Dan, runway producer Brittney Escovedo and history-making fashion photographer Dario Calmese discuss power, pivotal moments and why everyone’s talking about Pyer Moss.

…After the opening of fashion month in September, the world is watching to see if the fashion industry can pivot away from its hallmark elitism. Critics have been calling out the industry as systemically unjust, capitalizing on cultural appropriation and the spoils of colonialism to sell aesthetics….

Picture of Brittney Escovedo, a black beauty artist, laughing

…Harlem-bred couturier Dapper Dan, who is currently working in partnership with Gucci, said that the old fashion system is collapsing, opening room for outsiders to make a “tiny footprint” in its redesign. Dap describes the process for Black designers in terms of three roles on the quest for fashion identity, industry presence and a level of distribution necessary for success.

There’s the “economical orphan, there’s the economical adoptee and the economical one who’s being nurtured,” explained the designer. “The economical orphan is myself. Because I was denied access to fashion and to the fashion industry, I had to create, as an orphan would have to, and survive completely on my own. So I had to make a name for myself, completely outside of the fashion establishment.”…

…Brittney Escovedo, the founder of Beyond 8, an international event production company, spoke to how important mentoring relationships are for young creatives. “You don’t have to have a trust fund to have an opportunity,” said the fashion show producer, who has worked with Rachel Comey, Reebok, Solange Knowles and Sephora. “You don’t have to come from an elite family or lineage in order to get an interview. I want to employ and hire people that are qualified, interesting and creative,” she said….

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