One of the many things that the recent protests for Black Lives Matter have highlighted is how often Black people deal with bias in almost any industry. Social media is filled with stories of young entrepreneurs and creatives speaking of their experiences of abuse, discrimination, and racism.
For all of its shoehorning of diversity, industries like fashion continue to be notoriously exclusive with its long-standing cis white beauty standards. And although the landscape is shifting slowly, things are far from equal. As such, Black fashion designers and business owners face unique challenges that are rarely addressed. Ahead, we spoke to seven independent Black fashion entrepreneurs on the dynamics of establishing their own businesses and the lessons they've learnt in the process.
What's the most formative fashion lesson you've learnt throughout the years?
JO: Have a clear vision of what your brand is about — especially in times of doubt, this is the best safety net. When I used to get lost in research, I always asked myself what Daily Paper is about and what it represents. This is also the number-one lesson I give to upcoming fashion designers: What does your brand stand for and what added values will it give to the world?