The NYTimes: Fashion’s Racial Divide article touches on several points regarding the racial divide in the fashion industry. Good read, now what next? I think in addition to the fashion industry recognizing that they should be more inclusive, we also have to support the young ones that want to pursue such careers. In the West Indian culture, parents only know about four careers Lawyer, Doctor, Accountant, Engineer…you get the picture. I wish I had taken the opportunity to study at FIT while I was in college, my school had a special program that allowed you to study there in your last year, if you qualified. To satisfy my fashion palette and missed opportunity some years ago, I took a couple courses after returning to NY from law school. To add insult to injury, FIT is where I sat for weeks for my Bar Exam classes. The irony!
Some of us have a mix of creativity coupled with the intellectual, hence this Fashion Blog that allows me to express my creative side. Parents always want you to choose careers that yield the highest benefits, for them fashion is not always it. For me, my parents did not force being an attorney, it was my goal from a young age so they did not have to reinforce it so much or dissuade me from pursuing another career. But, I always had this creative outlet for writing and a respect for fashion due in part to my Mom’s great sense of style.
It’s not true that fashion careers don’t yeild a great benefit. I think the best thing you can do is encourage your child to pursue what makes their hearts sing, if that means a double-major, so they have a backup plan, then that is a good route. Don’t dissuade, encourage.
On the flip side, I think Fashion Schools have to be all encompassing for all races as well. I had an experience at FIT for a program I applied to some years ago and the questions that were posed to me and statements made were jaw-dropping to say the least. I took it in stride and a sign that was not my path, for that moment. I share this with you to say that there are many aspects to fixing this racial divide: parents, school administrators, the industry, the companies, all play a part. They all have to be willing to do their part in fixing the divide to encourage inclusion of all races in this industry.
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