Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Reflection: Race Relations in the Indianapolis Fashion Industry

Indianapolis is one of the most segregated cities in the Midwest. I've come to terms with that...really I have. I grew up in a world where there was no color. People gasped at me when I brought a white man home to visit my family. What did your family say? Say about what?!?! know about Jason being white? family didn't say anything. I don't think they even noticed. I've been in love with every race there is...I'm an equal opportunity lover. (I haven't dated an Asian though, need to fill that really just kidding!) And it's not that I'm naive about race, hatred, and exclusion; it's out there and it's stronger than ever. I just try not to let it rule my life.
This time last year, I decided to follow a dream of mine and work in the fashion industry here in Indianapolis. I didn't know much about our fashion scene, but I knew one was out there. So I started researching to see where I would fit in. I have met so many new and exciting people since I've started to surface among the scene. Too many people to name...but you know who your are. I've also learned of many catty fights and division in the ranks. What do you expect? It is fashion...the mother of all cattiness, but I didn't expect any racial division. I don't know why, it's Indianapolis.
In Indianapolis, we have the black clubs and the white stores and the white salons and white salons. Now don't get me wrong...there are some people of both races that break the mold. They don't follow the status quo and visit places that cater toward the opposite race. But the fashion industry....really?
I saw on Facebook last week a boycott against Midwest Fashion Week because it's founder, a Haitian male has been accused of purposely not promoting African American models and/or designers, because he's ashamed of his African heritage. I was floored, because this same issue was on the tongues of some when the Indianapolis Fashion Collective started. Many people said the organization was full of elitist and didn't want to particpate because they saw no representation of color within the ranks or there was no representation from IFC at the "black" fashion events. STOP PEOPLE!
Are people being too touchy? Are people looking for something to bitch about or does the Indianapolis fashion industry have a problem with color? I think certain people do, we cannot change the ignorance of those who choose to walk down a path of intolerance. But what we can do is support each other, whether that person, model, designer, photographer, or corporation is black or white or any other ethnicity or creed. Let's stop focusing on and fueling the color line, but lets step over it. Because Indianapolis is filled with talent from all sides; just think if we truly all came together and worked on making Indy the new fashion hub of the Midwest. We would be unstoppable.

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