Before Naomi, there was Naomi . . . Sims, one of the first Black supermodels to grace the cover of a major US magazine. She would also serve as the blueprint for model turned entrepreneur, starting her own beauty empire after retiring from modeling. Born Naomi Ruth Sims on March 30, 1948 in Oxford, Mississippi, she was the youngest of 3 daughters. Her parents divorced … Continue reading 28 Days of Black Fashion History: Naomi Sims
Liya Kebede carries many titles: supermodel, actress, activist, goodwill ambassador, mom, and fashion designer. Her story begins in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where she was discovered in high school by a French film director. After finishing her studies, she moved to Paris to pursue a career in modeling. Continue reading “28 Days of Black Fashion History: Liya Kebede”
As one of the first Black supermodels, Bethann Hardison paved the way for future models of colors in the fashion industry. Today, she continues to be a pioneer, activist and advocate for more diversity on the runway. A native Brooklynite, Bethann attended New York University Art School and the Fashion Institute of Technology. After working sales in the garment industry in the 1960s, she was … Continue reading 28 Days of Black Fashion History: Bethann Hardison
“Me and Grace Jones were ahead of our time.”
Way before Alek or Lupita made bold statements with their beautiful, clean shaven heads, an exquisite Black beauty chose to shave her head in protest of an industry obsessed with what some of us refer to as ‘good hair’. It became Pat Evan’s signature look and captured the attention of some of the most legendary figures in music, fashion and entertainment.
Pat Evans was born in Sugar Hill, New York of mixed African American and Native American heritage. She initially cut her hair (or rather it was cut for her) as a teen when she danced for Nigerian percussionist Olutunji. Though it wasn’t bald, it was cut very short so she would conform to his Afrocentric aesthetic.
A pioneer in the world of modeling, Helen Williams-Jackson is credited with paving the way for African American fashion models, particularly dark-skinned models, to be featured in major publications and advertising as well as high fashion catwalks, both domestic and international. Continue reading “28 Days of Black Fashion History: Helen Williams”