When it comes to luxury, it may be common for many people to look to countries like France or Italy for premier brands that set trends throughout the industry. Since the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement earlier this year, many in the fashion industry have come forward to call out the discrimination they have faced as Black professionals working in the sector. One woman decided to take her fashion expertise and create a new concept that puts African designers front and center for the fashion world to see.
Amira Rasool is the founder and CEO of The Folklore, an innovative concept that contains elements of a fashion showroom and an online store to showcase luxury and emerging brands from various African countries. For Rasool, the idea came from the desire to help these brands thrive in an industry that often ignores them in favor of European and American brands.
“I think it was important because these brands have been devalued and underfunded and grossly represented, not due to the lack of talent, but due to the lack of access and then purely just racism as well,” said Rasool in an interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“When I talk to people about certain situations and when I introduced new opportunities to these brands, like companies in the West that had previously ignored them, I’m very open about letting them know that the reason why these brands aren’t in these major retailers right now is purely because of racism and laziness.”
With many in the industry coming together to help uplift Black voices within fashion, Rasool says that her concept was more than just about selling clothes but protecting the integrity of African designers from getting used by larger corporations.
“I really wanted to make sure that we emphasize their value,” said Rasool. “You’re gonna put some respect on these brand names. You’re not gonna just use their images and be able to profit off of them because everyone loves all of the imagery coming out of there so you use it to get clicks to your website and then get money from ads and then not really care about the brands that you’re actually making money off of. I wanted to make sure that these brands had the opportunity to make money. We need to just make sure that [African designers] are able to capitalize on what they have [created] and their talent.