From Ida B. Wells to Ethel Payne and Robin Givhan, black women have made names for themselves in the world of journalism, and even more so in the world of fashion journalism.
The lack of diversity in fashion is outstanding but these pioneers have made their marks in every facet of the fashion world. With an eye for aesthetics and exceptional communication skills, these women show us that the world of fashion journalism is bigger than articles and editorials.
Learn about these 22 fabulous black women making a difference in the world of fashion journalism by doing everything from holding ranks at top luxury brands and magazines to creating a brand from the ground up and styling.
1. Robin Givhan, Fashion Editor
Currently the Fashion Editor for The Washington Post, Givhan held positions as a fashion critic and correspondent at The Daily Beast and Newsweek. Givhan is known for her criticism of the outfits of First Ladies of the United States.
2. Marie Denee, The Curvy Fashionista Blog
After working in retail for 12 years, Marie Denee noticed the need for plus-size fashion resources. In 2008, Marie Denee started The Curvy Fashionista and spent several years as editor growing the blog, where she shares fashion and so much more. It is a place for empowerment of women, whatever the shape or size. She also shares business and blogging tips on MarieDenee.com.
3. Michaela Angela Davis, Black Style Writer
Fashion Expert Michaela Angela Davis is the editorial manager at BET Networks. She writes about black style, race, gender and hip-hop culture in the United States. In 1991, Davis went to work for Essence as an associate fashion director with her first assignment being the styling of Anita Hill. She is a fashion expert and “image activist.”
4. Bevy Smith, Co-Host on Fashion Queens
Television personality and business woman, Bevy Smith, is currently a co-host on Bravo’s fashion themed talk show, Fashion Queens. Born and raised in Harlem, New York, Smith later became fashion and beauty advertising editor for Vibe Magazine before signing on with BET as a news correspondent.
Teri Agins is a fashion writer and the author of Hijacking The Runway and The End of Fashion. In 1989, Agins developed the fashion beat for the Wall Street Journal, where she currently runs the fashion column titled “Ask Teri.” In addition, she continues to freelance for other newspapers.
6. Constance White, Former EIC of Essence Magazine
Former Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine, Constance White runs her own site on fashion where she is an arbiter of culture and style. White is also the author of the book Stylenoir, a fashion guide written for black women. She has also written extensively on culture, style, lifestyle and contemporary issues for British Vogue, Glamour, Essence and many other publications.
7. Claire Sulmers, Editor-in-Chief of Fashion Bomb Daily
One of the first bloggers to hit the style scene, Claire Sulmers started The Fashion Bomb in 2006, and is one of the 99 most influential bloggers in the world. The site serves as a daily destination for the multicultural fashionista. Her work has landed in Newsweek, Essence and many other publications.
8. Harriette Cole, Stylist and Columnist
A contributor for TheRoot.com, Harriette Cole has an impressive editorial career, previously serving as lifestyle editor and fashion director at Essence Magazine, the founding editorial director at Uptown, editor of American American Legacy Woman, and creative director and Editor-in-Chief at Ebony. Cole has also authored several books, and recently launched a line of hand-crocheted accessories named 108 stitches.
Kilee Hughes serves as Net-a-Porter.com’s Public Relations Director. Hughes majored communications at USC but was unsure about what she wanted to do. While interning at a talent agency, her supervisor suggested she move to New York City and her drive landed her jobs with L’Oreal, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nike, and Luxottica.
10. Gabi Fresh, Style Blogger
Plus-Size style blogger, Gabi Fresh, graduated knowing that she wanted to pursue fashion journalism. Without any experience, Gabi created a blog that rejects stereotypes about plus-size women, filling the trend void she knew younger women had. Gabi Fresh has been seen in Glamour, Teen Vogue, Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, and many more.
With 15 years of experience in strategic marketing and communications, Umindi Francis manages many brands of various size including fashion. She has previously held positions at Louis Vuitton and Bottega Veneta.
12. Rachel Johnson, Style Maven
As a college student Rachel Johnson sported a blonde buzz cut and vintage clothing, which her peers admired. She began capitalizing on that by selling her style exclusives. Since then, Johnson has moved up in ranks as she styles many of the NBA players we see today including Chris Paul and LeBron James.
13. Julee Wilson, Senior Fashion Editor at HuffPo
Steering away from a signature style and dressing based on mood, Julee Wilson is the Senior Fashion Editor at The Huffington Post. Wilson previously served as the first African-American fashion editor at Real Simple. She always knew she wanted to be in fashion, and was able to get her start in the fashion world interning at Bergdorf Goodman.
14. Christina Brown, Style Blogger
New York native and founder of the fast-growing blog LoveBrownSugar.com Christina Brown has been recognized in The New York Times and Essence Magazine as a top lifestyle blog focusing on fashion and beauty, with an emphasis on self-empowerment. The blogger earned her B.S. in Economics, and from there gained experience in luxury retail to online editorial as well as fashion and beauty PR.
15. Shiona Turini, Editor
Shiona Turini got her start at W Magazine as accessories market editor. From there she moved on to accessories at Teen Vogue, beauty at the CR Fashion Book, and Fashion Market Director at Cosmopolitan. She is currently based in New York and works as a Creative Consultant, Freelance Fashion Editor and Stylist clients such as Amazon Fashion.
16. Nikki Ogunnaike, Senior Digital Style Editor at Glamour.com
Contrary to others, Nikki Ogunnaike noticed her interest in fashion when she started to wear matching turtlenecks and sweaters from The Gap. Ogunnaike got her start in the fashion world as a fashion assistant at Vanity Fair, then as editorial assistant at InStyle. Today, she works as Senior Digital Style Editor for Glamour.
17. Marielle Bobo, Style Director at EBONY
Marielle Bobo uses her creativity to conceptualize and style the cover shoots of Ebony Magazine. Bobo started working in the fashion industry right out of college with Wilhelmina modeling agency. She has had a shoe in many major fashion publications including Allure, Harper’s BAZAAR and Essence.
18. Amanda Miller, Junior Market Editor at Saks
Before she was Junior Market Editor at Saks Fifth Avenue, Amanda Miller got her start in fashion as a sales associate at Nine West. Miller believed that working in the fashion industry was something that she was always meant to do. Miller kept her goal in mind and has rightfully claimed her place at Saks.
Studying fashion theory, a newly created major at NYU at the time, Danielle Prescod landed an internship with Nylon. From there she interned at Teen Vogue. It wasn’t until Prescod began to write a blog on online dating that she gained recognition. Once Leah Chernikoff, Editor of Elle.com, came across Prescod’s blog, she insisted that she wrote for Elle.com, leading her to her position as fashion editor today.
20. Chrissy Rutherford, Senior Fashion Editor at Harper’s BAZAAR
While working as an assistant for InStyle.com, Chrissy Rutherford cultivated her digital savviness. This led her to being shopping editor at FashionETC.com, and after two summers of interning for Harper’s BAZAAR, she became Senior Editor at Harper’s BAZAAR. Rutherford originally thought she would work in print, as she was the middle school girl who read fashion magazines from cover to cover, but she admits she’s always been a bit of a computer nerd.
21. Julia Sarr-Jamois, Fashion Editor at Wonderland Magazine
Starting as a model, Julia Sarr-Jamois moved into styling and interned with I-D Magazine after leaving college. At 23 years old, she is the fashion editor at Wonderland Magazine and a fixture at European Fashion Weeks. With her vintage look and perfect fro, she is proof that the best looks aren’t always in magazines.
22. Shala Monroque, Creative Director at Garage Magazine
Creative Director at Garage Magazine, Shala Monroque’s edgy editorials among many things have landed her a place as one of the most influential players in international fashion. Growing up in St. Lucia, Monroque developed her eye for fashion through old Vogue and Tatler magazines her mother would bring home. When she moved to the U.S., she found a job as a receptionist and caught glimpses of the fashion world from the New Yorkers traveling in and out of her office. Eventually, this world became her own.
Shonette Reed is regular contributor for Coloures and For Harriet from Los Angeles, Calif. With plans to break into the fashion industry as a fashion reporter, she runs her own style blog. Her aim is to highlight the important contributions of women of color in the fashion industry as well as give women of color more exposure within the leading magazines in fashion. You can follow her on twitter @ShonetteReed.