This piece appears as part of our initiative on Identity & Representation, a six-month-long project highlighting different facets of identity and how they shape the practices, conventions, and conversations happening in the Highsnobiety world. Head here for the full series.
On Fashioning Identity, Highsnobiety’s new podcast series, we examine how fashion intersects with identity. Every month, writer and host Sachin Bhola talks to some of the most inspiring people in the industry, alongside the voices of today’s youth, about a different subject centered around identity and representation. From gender to sexuality to race to socio-economic status to much more, Highsnobiety shines a light on marginalized voices in street culture.
On this episode, we delve into the relationship between the fashion industry and race. To begin, Patrick Michael Hughes, an associate professor at Parsons School of Design, describes what racial diversity looked like throughout fashion history, starting from the beginning of the 20th century. He also highlights groundbreaking moments for racial inclusion in fashion.
To bridge the past with the present, and to introduce streetwear to the conversation, Bhola turns to two of the most respected people in the industry. The first is Chris Gibbs of Union Los Angeles, who details what he’s observed about fashion and race over the last two decades, including streetwear’s gentrification of “urban” fashion and the importance of brands that are owned and operated by people of color. The second is Bobby Hundreds of The Hundreds, who talks about the browning of America and the influence that has on consumer culture and on an industry he says is predominantly run by white people. He also discusses issues he sees between minority groups when it comes to race politics and fashion.
Next, Bhola sits down with Libyan American journalist, activist, and speaker Noor Tagouri, who was misidentified in Vogue’s February print issue earlier this year. Tagouri, a Muslim woman, shares what the consequences of being mis-raced by the media are. We then consider how the industry can address race and racism in the future by speaking to civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson, who sits on Gucci’s newly created Changemakers Council, an initiative designed to promote cultural awareness and diversity.
This episode of Fashioning Identity scrutinizes the fashion industry’s troubling history with race, offers advice on what people can do to demand the industry changes, and more. Listen above or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or any of your favorite podcast apps.
ICYMI: On our last episode, rapper Taylor Bennett and more discuss fashion and sexuality. Listen to Fashioning Identity: Sexuality here.
- Writer & Host: Sachin Bhola
- Producer & Editor: Sonia Manalili
- Talent Relations Manager: Meagan Keeler
- Guests: Patrick Michael Hughes, Chris Gibbs, Bobby Hundreds, Noor Tagouri, and DeRay Mckesson