Rowing with Crew

I am a J.Crew fan. I love J. Crew.

Last night I went to their site like if I was checking my facebook. It’s a habit. It’s a daily routine for me.

On their home page they introduced me to the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and two designers who were the recipients of this award. After looking at Prabal Gurung collection and watching the Billy Reid videos, I was impressed. A part of me wanted to buy something of Gurung and another part of me wanted to visit Reid’s store in Alabama.

As I got ready for bed, I ruminated about the fashion scene and silently wished I saw more African-American artist and designers.

With that said, I give kudos to Harlem Fashion Row, an organization in Harlem whose main objective is to ‘create diversity in fashion’.¬† After browsing through their site and voting for a designer whose clothing line I would love to see in stores (Joseph Bethune), I realize that there was really no need to wish to see more African-American artist and designers as there is a need to want African-Americans to be given the opportunities that are often given to their counterparts.

There are African-American artist out there, we just don’t see them.

As the founder and CEO of Harlem Fashion Row,¬†Brandice N. Henderson, mentioned in the video posted on their site, “80% of Successful American designers come out of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion fund and in the last six years there has not been one men’s wear or women’s wear designer of African descent.”

She continued to say that “African-Americans and Latinos spend 22 billion dollars a year on apparel but this group of [designers that] represents ‘us’ is less than one percent of designers that are available in our major department stores.”

This makes me as an American, not as an African-American, but as an American think about my country and exactly where I should channel my money. Are African-Americans really not being given the chance? Are they really being kept out of the industry?

Am I rowing with the wrong crew?