Two of those three women (entrepreneur Brandice Henderson-Daniel and top model Ebonee Davis), were led by our very own Beauty & Fashion Director Julee Wilson in a much-needed discussion about how Black women are leading the charge for representation in fashion, beauty and beyond.
Davis, known globally for her gorgeous features and sharp-thinking (have you seen her TED Talk?), shared her unique perspective on the topic from both sides of the spectrum. As someone who went from being an aspiring model looking to break into an indsutry that wasn’t always so welcoming, to turning that lens back on that same industry after finding success and daring them to challenge her authenticity, the 25-year-old beauty had much to add the conversation.
“In 2016, I made the decision to go natural,” Davis said. “And I remember walking into my agency and they were like ‘that rolled-out-of-bed-hair’ just isn’t going to work.”
Despite being told she wouldn’t book new clients, she booked a major Calvin Klein campaign right after making her gut decision to stay true to herself.
Daniel, known for being the founder of Harlem Fashion Row—a powerhouse institution that grooms and puts a spotlight on burgeoning multi-cultural fashion talent—also weighed in on the discussion with her expert advice on understanding the power of the Black-dollar.
“We spend $22 Billion a year on apparel,” Daniel noted. “But we represent less than 1% of the designers that we can actually buy from in the industry.”
Daniel’s ultimate goal is to change these startling statistics by partnering new designers with major fashion brands to do collaborations- starting in September. Check out a clip from this conversation above and then be sure to head back to ESSENCE.com for more of everything you missed at the 2018 ESSENCE Festival.