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Thursday, July 14, 2016

#NYFWM: Black Lives Matter - Making Street Style Count

hannah stoudemire
Downtown New York is all about menswear style right now. Bloggers and fashion wannabes have 
been posing inside and outside the runway venues hoping to be photographed. One fashion influencer took that opportunity to make it count. Hannah Stoudemire, a model, and Lanvin employee rounded up fellow citizens to stand for Black Lives Matter outside Skylight Clarkson Square. She is normally a fan of the designers showing at fashion week but was frustrated at the industry's lack of response to the most recent illegal killings of Black citizens by the police. Names of victims Walter Scott and Sandra Bland were displayed on t-shirts.

Designers have made a social statement with their collections in the past. Unfortunately, that's generally an exception, not a rule. Pyer Moss showed a short film paying tribute to victims of police brutality to open his spring 2016 fashion show. Outfits within the show were spray painted with "I can't breathe" in reference to the killing of Eric Garner.

saint harridan unheeled

In 2014, during the Dapper Q's showcase of masculine fashion designers, Mary Going's fashion show for her label Saint Harridan had their models carry signs for Black Lives Matter following the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown. 

The fact that year after year, the fashion industry even has cause to protest because of new tragedies is appalling. Many bloggers or fashion industry figures often shy away from "controversial" topics because they are afraid of losing followers or customers. There is nothing controversial about #BlackLivesMatter. It is wrong for human beings to be murdered. There really isn't a debate about that is there? Hannah Stoudemire stands to lose both followers AND customers as a model and salesperson, but she has stayed the course.

Fashion doesn't have to be shallow. Fashion week has a lot of fans and a lot of viewers. There is nothing wrong with showing you are socially aware while showing stylish clothes. Wouldn't an outfit be more memorable if you associated it with changing the world? I was happy to see fellow photographers and influencers being moved by Stoudemire's protest. The protest was silent, elegant and moving. The fact that she has already garnered press from many of the top media outlets lets me believe that fashion people are not apathetic. They just needed a worthy influencer to start the movement.

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