Ebony Fashion Fair: Defining African-Americans in Fashion

Ebony Fashion Fair: Defining African-Americans in Fashion

The Ebony Fashion Truthful trend present was established in 1958 by the Johnson Publishing Firm below the shut administration of Eunice Walker Johnson, spouse and co-founder of Johnson Publishing Firm and spouse of its founder, John H. Johnson. Co-founder Eunice Johnson had a eager eye for type, so it made sense that she can be the one to convey editorial trend shoots to life on the runway.

Roundtree Richard, EBONY Fashion Fair, 1967

Johnson Publishing at that time had been in enterprise greater than a decade, producing EBONY (1945) and JET (1951) magazines. In 1956 they have been approached by Jessie Dent, spouse of the president of Dillard College, to supply fashions for a charity trend present. Management at Johnson Publishing was apprehensive about sending its lineup {of professional} fashions from EBONY to a college-produced trend present, however nonetheless wanting to assist, John H. Johnson provided to produce the wardrobe for the present. Every ticket bought would include a subscription to both EBONY or JET. The operation was successful, and in 1958 the primary Ebony Fashion Truthful present, produced by Johnson Publishing Firm, was born.

Johnson Publishing was established on the premise of celebrating and uplifting African- Individuals. The Ebony Fashion Truthful was a touring present that will go to as much as 30 cities per yr over the course of its 51-year lifetime Black fashions showcased the appears of designers of shade together with b. Smith, Stephen Burrows, Patrick Kelly, Willi Smith and L’Amour. Exhibits additionally featured high fashion icons resembling Yves St. Laurent, Christian Lacroix, Emanuel Ungaro, Oscar de la Renta, Valentino and Givenchy. The custom that began with the primary present at Dillard College was saved intact: Each ticket bought got here with a free subscription to EBONY or JET, and a portion of the proceeds have been donated to charity. Over the lifetime of the manufacturing, greater than $60 million was raised from the present for Black nonprofit organizations, scholarships, colleges and hospitals.

One of many many issues that made the Ebony Fashion Truthful distinctive was that it was an expertise like no different for the Black neighborhood. The manufacturing started through the Civil Rights Motion, and the fashions traveled by bus throughout Southern states. For attendees, it was particularly uplifting to see Black ladies and men represented in such a sublime trend. The reveals gave visitors a cause to convey their trend A-games. Ebony Fashion Truthful put the glitz of the style business and aspirational existence inside attain of African-Americans.

It’s reported that Mrs. Johnson would spend between $1 million and $1.5 million on clothes for the manufacturing every season, and the archived assortment of earlier Ebony Fashion Truthful wardrobe turned iconic. By 2009, Mrs. Johnson’s well being was failing and the autumn runway reveals have been canceled. She died in January of the next yr on the age of 93. On the time of her dying, Mrs. Johnson was a prime purchaser of couture, amassing roughly 8,000 clothes, in line with NPR.

To rejoice the legacy of Eunice Johnson and the Ebony Fashion Truthful, 40 outfits have been chosen by Chicago Historical past Museum curator Pleasure Bivens in 2013 to create the exhibit “Inspiring Magnificence: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Truthful.” The exhibition launched on the Chicago Historical past Museum and has since gone on tour throughout the nation, together with the North Carolina Museum of Artwork.

Hearken to the NPR tribute to the Ebony Fashion Truthful aired Feb 2014.


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