Kamala Harris presents Black designers to global audience
Harris may not enjoy the same freedom in her style of dressing as former first lady, Michelle Obama
Kamala Harris, the first Black and south Asian vice president, has elevated the names of Black designers by wearing their clothes on the biggest public stage possible.
Harris’ fashion statement was loud and clear when she dressed in designer labels such as Pyer Moss, Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson during last week’s inauguration events. By wearing the creations of designers of color, Harris was aligning the new administration’s commitment to diversity with the fashion industry’s attempt to move past systemic racism into a new era.
In this new era, designers of color get the same opportunities that their white counterparts have enjoyed for years.
“When it comes to inauguration events, Black designers have been almost exclusively absent,” said author Ronda Racha Penrice, “so it was nice to discover that the fabulous outfits were created by Black designers.”
On the eve of the inauguration, the concept of “the new” was displayed when Harris attended an event paying tribute to those lost to the pandemic. She wore a camel color coat featuring a distinctive water design on the back.
“The wave means ‘a new wave’,” said the designer Kerby Jean-Raymond, owner of Pyer Moss, who thought the symbol could be read in the context of the administration being unafraid to confront America’s racist past, according to The Guardian.
Rogers designed the ultraviolet purple coat Harris wore during Wednesday’s swearing in ceremony. Rogers’ powerfully bold color palette and use of extreme angles, speak to this high drama and also to the importance of radical individualism.
Hudson, the designer of Harris’s black tux and the sequin dress worn during the evening inauguration celebrations, also designed Michelle Obama’s stunning daytime inaugural plum suit.
Being a politician, Harris may not enjoy the same freedom in her style of dressing as former first lady, Michelle Obama .“I can foresee VP Harris receiving a certain level of backlash if she were to use fashion in the same way as Flotus,” said fashion historian Darnell-Jamal Lisby.
For the designers worn at the inauguration the exposure should vastly increase the reach of their brands. “Representation of any fashion brand during these sacred ceremonies and political events gives them an exponential boost in recognition and profitability,” said Lisby.
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