If the delicate trust falls from the first day of Men’s Fashion Week were a quiet nod to recent acts of gun violence, today’s message was much more overt. Over a dozen people trekked to Skylight Clarkson Square, the week’s main venue, to protest acts of police brutality and an inequality in justice directed toward African-Americans.
The protest was silent and compelling. A few steps away from the doors that led to today’s shows, the group stood quietly with their hands raised. “Stop Killing Us” read a protester’s shirt. “Sandra Bland” read another.
Leading the group was blogger and Lanvin’s Hannah Stoudemire, who told Mashable: “I work in the fashion industry and I noticed none of the designers cared about it. I’m the only black employee for a major house on Madison and everyone seems not to acknowledge what has happened. There’s no condolences. There’s nothing. When it comes to a matter of life or death, a dollar sign shouldn’t come into play.”
Despite a few moments of clarity (the recent Pyer Moss show styled by Erykah Badu quickly comes to mind), the fashion industry has remained firmly quiet when it comes to #BlackLivesMatter. This didn’t sit well with Stoudemire and her friend Rachel Johnson who joined today’s protest. A stylist to J.R. Smith and Lebron James, to name a few, Johnson explained: “There’s no one in this country that cannot ignore this. I’m a black woman. That comes first for me before any status or kind of popularity or opinions people have of me. This is about humanity.”
But as the day wanes, the questions lingers: Will the protest work? Perhaps one anonymous editor said it best: “Fashion loves controversy, for sure, but it has to be the right kind.”