Following a conversation with my mentor, I realized how important it is to show that we’re included in spaces where we’ve been denied from for many years.
Kahlana Barfield-Brown, Shiona Turini, and Elaine Welteroth are all black women who are taking over the fashion industry. Barfield-Brown serves as the fashion and beauty editor-at-large at InStyle. Turini is a freelance fashion editor, stylist, creative consultant, and contributor to The Cut. Welteroth is the first African American editor-in-chief at Teen Vogue.
I vividly remember the first time feeling represented (an extremely subjective term) in the fashion industry. Growing up, I was subscribed to Teen Vogue. I actually remember the day when I received the magazine with Jourdan Dunn and Chanel Iman. I was only 12 when the cover came out, so I didn’t really understand why this was so big.
Jourdan and Chanel, photo courtesy of Teen Vogue.
Getting a magazine with young, black girls on the cover was an amazing feeling. Again, I didn’t really notice how much of a big deal it was, but I just remember feeling good when I saw this. I saw myself in them. More black people in the fashion industry have been getting the props they deserve, but at the same time, we know that everyone’s story isn’t being told.
It feels good to see people like Shiona, Kahlana, and Elaine. It feels good to know that people who look like me are able to achieve the dreams that I’m currently pursuing. When little black girls like 12-year-old Autumn can see black girls on a major magazine, it means a lot. When not-so-little black girls like 20-year-old Autumn sees black fashion editors who do amazing things, it inspires me to do what I need to do, so other little black girls can eventually look up to me.