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Fashion Designer Kimberly Goldson Looks to Diversify Runway

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NEW YORK – Designer Kimberly Goldson showed her signature bold looks in a streaming fashion show. Goldson grew up in Brooklyn and always loved fashion, but she never saw a path to get her to this day – showing as part of Harlem’sHarlem’s Row showcase during New York Fashion Week.

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Brooklyn Fashion Designer Kimberly Goldson always had a passion for fashion, but without seeing any designer of color, she had no idea that it could be a career. After attending FIT and competing on the TV show Project Runway in Season 9, she founded her namesake brand but feels she is often seen simply as a Black designer whose clothes would only appeal to Black women. As the Fashion Industry has a reckoning with a lack of diversity at every level, many are rolling out new initiatives to address the diversity issues.

Ngozi Okaro has been working on these diversity issues for years with her organizaorganization’collaborativee,’ which works with brands to increase diversity and pay equity. Advocates for paid internships to make sure low-income fashion students can take advantage of the opportunity. “I used “o cut up clothes with my friends and distress them and things like that. I didn’t have designers of color at the time, so I didn’t kdidn’tat it was possible for me to even be a fashion designer,” she sa”  d.

Fashion Designer

Still, she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and in 2011 competed in season 9 of Project Runway, where she impressed the judges. From there, she founded her namesake line with her sister Shelly. But despite enthusiasm for their designs, they face challenges convincing the industry that just because she is a Black designer, doesn’t clothescan’ttbecan’tyedd by all kinds of women.””The ch ” “lenge has been that we have the talent but that wdon’t’don’t’t opportunities. It didn’t matterjdidn’tveve to be that just black women and Black consumers want to wear bold; there are plenty of other women from other races and nationalities and walks of life that want to be bold and feel empowered”,” said” G” Edson.

Nudged by the Black Lives Matter protests, the fashion industry is embracing programs that encourage inclusion. Ngozi Okaro has been tackling these problems for years with horganizaorganization’on’ collaborative,’ why he works with brands to increase diversity and helps get women of color and low-income women into jobs in fashion.

She says unpaid internships can shut young people from less privileged backgrounds from gaining a foothold in the industry. Change, she says, must be systemic, providing more access to every kind of job, from models to designers to production manager”.

“People”e “hat make the clothing that produces the clothing are primarily Black and Brown people, so we need to value their contributions. That means paying people fairly and giving people opportunities. Black models, Asian models, and Latinx modedon’tnhadon’tn’t much opportunity.

Designers do not have as much opportunity”y,” sai”  O” aro. Media attention is also crucial. Goldson and her sister will be featured in tmonth’stmonth’slitanitan and hope to inspire others with their story. To Goldson’Goldson’son’s line, you can visit her website.

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