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Abstract

During the Fall 2012 New York Fashion Week preview, only two African American designers showcased collections of the 127 designers (Mullins). Spring 2015 Fashion Week showcased 25 African American/African (Black) designers (Superselected), which is a significant increase. However, there is still minimal to no presence of Black designers in high-fashion magazines. There has been lay/popular research on this phenomenon (Kearney; madamenoire; Mullins; Williams; Woodberry), but no academic data has been published regarding this injustice.

Through a Critical Race Theory (CRT) lens the coverage or lack thereof that Black designers receive is divulged. CRT recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society (UCLA School of Public Affairs). A content analysis of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue was conducted for year 2000 and 2012 in order to track a possible increase in coverage.

The data revealed that there was no increase of exposure Black designer received in Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue from year 2000 to 2012. Tokenism was found as an issue which did not allow for other non-token Black designers to be recognized. The results suggest that there is continued need for diversification in high-fashion publications.

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