As part of an ongoing commitment to help support Black fashion talent, IMG and the Black in Fashion Council are rolling out a three-season strategic alliance.
Aimed to have a global impact, the effort will include curated “discovery” showrooms in New York and Los Angeles in March. There are plans to build on that in future seasons to expand the offering to Europe. This is not the inaugural effort for the two entities: IMG and the council partnered at NYFW: The Shows in September.
On another front in March, the council will participate in NYFW: The Talks on the NYFW site. Commenting on the expanded partnership, Leslie Russo, president of fashion events and properties at IMG, said in a statement: “We are committed to working with their leadership and leveraging our resources to support their mission of amplifying Black talent in fashion, not only in New York, but now in L.A. and next globally.”
Investors and founders in the fashion industry have detailed how sources of funding, often a function of social and professional connections and proximity to generational wealth, can be elusive for Black entrepreneurs in America. Venture capital funding, for example, is still an area of racial disparities: Just about 1 percent of start-ups funded by venture capital have Black founders, according to the Transparent Collective, a nonprofit that focuses on helping business founders from underrepresented groups get start-up funding.
Black in Fashion Council cofounders Lindsay Peoples Wagner and Sandrine Charles noted in a joint statement how expanding the opportunities for designers of color on both coasts “directly changes the trajectory publicly and financially of creatives throughout this pandemic.”
There will be 11 designers showcased in New York and five highlighted in Los Angeles. In addition to women’s and men’s apparel, accessories will also be in the mix. In New York, the resources will be House of Aama, Marissa Wilson, Nicole Benefield, Kendra DuPlantier, EDAS, Michel Men, Third Crown, Beads Byaree, Chelsea Paris, Chuks Collins, Theophilio and Whensmokeclears. In California, Nicole Shante, Lola Ade, Come Back as a Flower, Label by Three and Local European will be displayed.