Could Covid-19 be a wrench in the wheel for the future progression of black designers making it in the industry of fashion?
It is a known and evident fact that pandemics affect the black community in disproportionate manners, and thus far Covid-19 has shown no difference. For fashion on a global scale the industry impact has been huge and is forcing already struggling large businesses to face likely and inevitable financial realities, especially in the U.S hub which is NYC.
So what does that mean for brand new and up and coming black designers? To present date the collection of black influence at the helm of their brand was on a obvious incline with designers like Virgil Abloh being a leading name at Louis Vuitton, Kerby and his noteriety with Pyer Moss, Laquan Smith and CUSHNIE, with their evident success and a acknowledgment by CFDA president Tom Ford, and a show stopping career propelling show for Christopher John Rodgers at this previous seasons NYFW(Feb2020) black representation from our designers was evident and felt throughout the industry. However, with talks in circulation of possibly no more fashion seasons as a whole, staff layoffs and downsizing, cancellations of internships, and small businesses closing what does that look like for the FUTURE of black fashion ?
The fashion industry ,as many have often floated the term, is like a secret society and a heavily influenced by who you know, and many's first and only way into this elite society is through internship style programs. With social distancing in place many aspiring professionals internships have been canceled and placed on hold indefinitely, causing a stand still and an indifference of their futures in a crumbling industry. Brands and business giants alike are placing employees and entire staffing under furlough due to heavy loss of income from store closures and sales losses. Many black owned businesses and brands may easily have to start over and from zero on a wider scale.
But does this situation, present and actual hopeful opportunity for the black aspiring fashion community? The answer may actually be in the losses! Many brands and businesses will be in major recovery mode and have little budgets to work with coming back into the world as we knew it, which will provide a major demand for intern work opportunities as well cross brand collaboration. Larger scale businesses will also be lost on their path forward in the new digital world and younger generational shift that Covid-19 has faced them with, creating more contractor opportunities in lew of employee payroll to save money. For fashion, post Covid, the opportunity for forward advancement in the black fashion community lies in maximizing collaboration and doubling down on internships opportunities