Protesters Take to NYFWM To Remind the Glitterati that Black Lives Matter
Tomorrow marks the last day of this year’s New York Fashion Week: Men’s, an occasion that normally brings in its wake some spiffy new designs, yes, but also a slew of attention-hungry streetstyle wannabes, “chic” parties, and glitzy extravagance. For many, however, the luxurious celebration of a luxury industry—one that has historically appropriated large swaths of black culture—right after the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile can seem like a slap in the face.
Designer Jamila Mariama was the first to note the fashion world’s silence on the matter, issuing a clarion call on Instagram that was quickly taken up by models like Hari Nef and Torraine Futurum. “So many designers, models, photographers, magazines, artists, stylists etc had so much to say and post about the Orlando shooting,” Mariama wrote, “but have nothing, not a word to say about the racism, police brutality, and injustice happening to blacks right in front of their eyes.” Speaking to Complex, Futurum added that:
“The only reason people in the fashion and entertainment industries spoke on Orlando is because they’d seem incredibly insensitive if they didn’t. Unfortunately, the same demand is not felt on black issues. Historically, fashion folks have been pretty silent on racially fueled police brutality and systemic racism as a whole.”
In response, a small group of Black Lives Matter protesters apparently gathered outside of Skylight Clarkson Square, where NYFW: Men’s is held, to engage in a silent protest. Holding their hands up, and wearing t-shirts that read “Sandra Bland” and “Stop Killing Us,” the group sought to remind passing fashion denizens that, yes, life exists off the runway, and it’s often a lot harder to look at than a poorly stitched culotte.
Fortunately, their voices seem to have been heard, at least a little. The CFDA posted an image of the group on its Instagram, complete with the appropriate hashtag, #blacklivesmatter. Now we’re just waiting for all of the designers, stylists, and editors to get on board.
Stay tuned to Milk for more Black Lives Matter updates.
Image via Instagram.