Image: Madame Leroy, 2016, Fabiola Jean-Louis
The Fashion and Race Database, founded by Kimberly Jenkins in 2017, is an online platform to challenge mis-representation within the fashion system. Re-launched this week, the site is full of open-source tools to expand the narrative of fashion history and amplify BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) fashion scholarship. Here, Jenkins, Assistant Professor, Fashion Studies, Ryerson University, tells us why she started the project and her team’s goals for re-launch.
Image: Eartha Kitt in “Talk of the Town.” Central Press via Getty Images. From
“As a fashion studies graduate and (subsequently) a professor of colour, I was faced with a dearth of resources when it came to teaching fashion history and theory. Many of the richly diverse sources useful in expanding what we know and understand about fashion history and theory were scattered about in adjacent and unrelated fields and disciplines. In 2017, I decided to gather and organize all those sources and present it on a platform I called The Fashion and Race Database, which extended beyond a project I was doing with a fellow graduate, The Fashion and Race Syllabus.”
Image: © James Barnor via Autograph.
“The result was a comprehensive resource that sought to help fashion students, educators, researchers, designers, professionals and the pedestrian audience when it comes to learning about the intersections of fashion and ‘race.’ On July 8 I am relaunching the database with an even more robust format, thanks to a small, brilliant team. Our goal will be to amplify BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) fashion scholarship, provide new editorial sections as well as a wider array of sources. The Fashion and Race Database has received an abundance of new support and holds a renewed sense of social relevance, given the civil unrest and an imperative to make the fashion system more equitable.”
You can support the work of the Fashion and Race Database project via a Ryerson University donation link.
For more information visit fashionandrace.org