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Black Women Shine at Vogue World Fashion Show

Serena and Venus Williams strut their stuff in Paris during the Vogue World Fashion Show 2024. / Vogue

A major accomplishment in history was reached during the Vogue World Fashion Show 2024, as 100 years of arts and sports are put on display. As critics recall the events during the show, it arguably took the spotlight as one of the most artistically crafted spectacles in the world of fashion. Taking place at the starting point of the Rue de le Paix in Paris, the Place Vendome received the honor of hosting some of the biggest houses in fashion via the creation of a closely calculated ode to the changing trends throughout the decades of fashion. But like most things, some of the best parts of history come with an unfortunate climacteric flaw. Inclusion has always been a major problem within the fashion industry as a result of western media’s eurocentric beauty standards and blatant discrimination, but do we as consumers really know the significance behind the pieces we wear?

Black women have always played an instrumental function in the economics of the fashion industry, but recognition has always been scarce as a result of the justification of racial prejudice. After a cotton flower is picked, ginned, and sorted through, it is sent through a spinning machine followed by a weaving machine to transform the thread into sturdy fabric. From start to end, the whole process from plant to clothing can take up to 45 days. This was the task assigned to an overwhelming amount of enslaved people during the 19th to 20th century, forcing them to take on the roles of dressmakers and seamstresses.

After slavery was abolished there was a surplus of Black seamstresses but not all of them were given the same opportunities to thrive. Despite their limited access to the industry, Black women found their way back into the world of fashion through popular magazines. Josephine Baker is a popular icon who was famously one of the first Black women to be on front cover issues. In the 1930s, Baker was featured in issues like The Sketch Magazine, fully enduring through the racist commentary that came from angered readers. Essence Magazine is another great example of this, as the company was founded on the purpose to actively include Black women in discussions about fashion.

As we enter a new age in fashion under the influence of micro-trends, mini influencers and stereotypical aesthetics, as a collective we simultaneously need to be aware of the history and significance behind certain articles of clothing. Vogue World 2024 breaks this cycle of following the norm, paying tribute to those who made the fashion industry what it is today. Multiple Black artists were included in the show, but Venus and Serena aptly stole the floor the minute they presented the tennis section.

“Venus epitomizes the essence of female empowerment and strength,” says Marine Serre, the artist who created the piece Venus walked in. “Who has a similar career except for Serena? I have the deepest admiration and respect for them. Venus represents the archetype of womanhood that I want to celebrate every day through my label.”

In response to Serre, Venus complimented Serre’s work and expressed her deep admiration for the show, stating, “Marine absolutely killed the look. She really embodied femininity, athleticism, and chicness all in one. And most importantly, it makes me feel empowered and confident.”

Out of all the beautiful celebrities that walked that night, including Ciara and Teyana Taylor, let’s take the time to recognize the power of unity in the industry. Black women are now having more opportunities than ever, and supporting events like these help amplify other marginalized groups within the fashion world. Inclusivity is always being pushed by brands in a way that almost comes off as performative, but this show was amazingly pulled off, which allowed more fashion philanthropists to express and display their art in its most genuine form.

 

By Jada Strong, Junior at Whitney Young Magnet

Twitter/Insta: @JadaStrongg

 

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Written by Jada Strong

come see the face behind the work on instagram, @JadaStrongg :)

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