In April, a package of “It girls” was released throughout the decades. You might’ve noticed the lack of Black women that you might’ve deemed yourself an “It girl.” Grace Jones was luckily placed on the list deservingly, but what about the rest? Who would you have put on the list? Someone from your favorite girl group growing up, a video vixen from your favorite rap music videos, a 90s supermodel? Ponder on that while we explore what an “It girl” is in the realm of Blackness. Being a fashion “It girl” for Black women encompasses a unique and empowering experience beyond the realm of fashion or even beauty. It represents a powerful movement that celebrates individuality and cultural identity. When the Y2K aesthetic was booming from 2021 to just last year, Black women were, again, excluded from getting credit as the firsts to do it. Many people were following a trend and calling it “cyber-ghetto,” those people were white.
We must remember that Black women have a rich and diverse cultural heritage that inspires their fashion choices, blending traditional elements with modern trends to create never-seen-before looks. Black women’s influence on fashion continues to go unnoticed or is maybe purposefully excluded. Think about who was the most popular girl in school; what was it about her that made her the center of attention? It might have been her affinity for new sneakers each month, her perfectly fit jeans, or the fact that she was just pretty. This popular girl had her own influencer, an “It girl” from her pickings. She studied this girl’s persona and style.
We do have to be mindful that, of course, not all Black girls are the same, so not every “It girl” is the same, but I wonder if the girls that are prominent in music, acting, or influencing are the next era of “It girls.” We have our favorite rappers like Flo Milli, Latto, and Doechii, and actresses Zendaya and Taylor Russell, but is there longevity to their reign as “It girls” in this era of trends and even people being in and subsequently out the next day?
I believe the fashion “It girl” status for Black women also means breaking down barriers and challenging societal norms. Historically, the fashion industry has often marginalized and underrepresented Black women. Back to the Y2K conversation, Destiny’s Child is an excellent example of this. The girl group was constantly in headlines called “the worst dressed.” Destiny’s Child was often dressed in hand-made designs by Beyonce’s mother.
Through their creativity and influence, Black fashion “It girls” have reshaped the industry, demanding inclusivity and representation on the runways, in advertising campaigns, and within fashion media. I don’t think there’s a lack of “It girls” for Black women; they are just not being put at the forefront in most media.