Ahlia Dunn, 24, Creative Producer, New York, NY
I want to stay in this industry because I want to be a part of the beauty. I love beautiful things, and I think people sometimes think it’s a vapid point of view, but to me, it’s the only point of view I’ve ever had. I tried to make sense of it, I tried to pursue other ventures, industries, but I was never satisfied until I came here. I want people like me to be a part of the beauty, Black women, people from lower income backgrounds. I want people to be allowed to be a part of the beauty and know that we can exist on all levels in this industry. From the Instagram girlies to the c-suite, we’re a part of the action because we contribute more than anyone else. If I’m having this immense passion and I’m not able to actually apply it, then what is the point.
Ahmrii Johnson, 22, Fashion Design Student at Parsons School of Design, New York, NY
I continue to push to have a career in fashion because I believe in the vision I have. My colleagues and I want to use our passions to improve people’s relationship with the environment and ourselves. It is possible to make changes to the industry, and no matter the challenge, that possibility is what pushes me to keep working and keep innovating.
Alexandra Otero, 29, Logistics Coordinator, Bronx, NY
I stay and I struggle in order to help educate other POC in the industry. I want to be the helping hand I didn’t have. I believe there needs to be more POC in executive positions. I don’t want to give up because I really believe in my work. Not only the work I do for the fashion industry but the work I do within.
Allison Ko, 21, Student at FIT, New York, NY
One thing that motivates me is seeing people that look like me in these executive positions, even though there aren’t nearly enough. Seeing that they’ve done it before makes me want to be there as well. If we’re not working to do that, then everything within the industry stays as it’s always been, so that inspires me to keep going and do something different, because who else will?
Amber Sabri, 24, Founder & CEO of Azhar PR, New York, NY
At the end of the day, fashion has been a part of me my entire life. I’m lucky to have seen a lot of growth in the industry since I was younger. I’ve seen the pages of magazines shift from featuring strictly the tall, size zero, blonde model, to featuring models of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities. Seeing that progression and especially seeing South Asian women flourish in the fashion industry has given me hope that there is more growth to come and I want to be a part of it.
Ana Escalante, 23, Editorial Assistant at Glamour, New York, NY
I love fashion. I love the way this medium is used to convey a story, a sense of emotion and identity homeostasis. As a plus-sized person though, fashion doesn’t love me as equally — but like a toxic relationship, I keep coming back. There’s a lot of problems this industry needs to fix before it’s equitable to everyone, but young, BIPOC talent shouldn’t be expected to bear the burdens of a multi-billion dollar industry. Personally, I stay in fashion because of the people here — the good ones — who know what it’s like to be pushed to the fringes of society who have come to lift each other up. I stay in fashion because I live for the fantasy of putting on a garment and feeling like I’m on top of the world. I stay in fashion because of stories behind the people who make it possible: the seamstresses, the strategists, and the stressed out young and scrappy interns who live for the 10 minutes of glory that starts the second a model walks out onto the catwalk. I stay in fashion because I can’t imagine my life without it.
Bronze Boulding, 26 years old, Costume Production Assistant, Atlanta, GA.
I stay one because it’s always been a dream to be a costumer for films and see my name in the credits at the end. There’s not a lot of Black women in the film industry in editing and I want to be that change [to] show other women my age and even older it is all possible.
Carly Newton, 22, PR Intern at TIER, New York, New York
I love this industry because so much fashion comes from Black people. We have created some of the most iconic trends and styles. We have so many ideas and talents to bring to the table and when we do it, it is amazing and an indescribable thing to see.
Daryl Tahjanae Turner, 20, Business and Fashion Student, Los Angeles, CA
What makes me want to stay is the 5-year-old little girl I once was almost 16 years ago. This has been her dream for a long time, and I can’t give up on her without knowing I tried my hardest. I would even be happy with starting a small *slow* fashion designing business just to make custom pieces for people. I don’t need to be as flashy and famous as a high-end brand because I’m not doing this for the money, I’m doing it for the love I have.