Meet Shelby Ivey Christie, a New York-based, fashion and costume historian who is shifting and complicated the way the globe views style by highlighting the missed Black contributions to the billion-dollar business. Christie combines just about 10 many years of specialist fashion practical experience, owning worked at Vogue, InStyle, and W Magazine, with her tutorial background in background and costume style from NYU to analyze style and gown by the lens of race, course, and lifestyle.
She’s passionate about connecting the dots to discover how economics, lifestyle and culture intersect with vogue. What makes Christie unique is her uncanny capability to utilize her social media and analysis competencies to give in-depth investigation to unearth untold Black vogue tales and narratives for her significant Twitter next. Her Twitter take care of, @bronze_bombSHEL, has a loyal and engaged viewers of 39,000 and it is there she curates Twitter threads of partaking electronic record classes by applying memes, Gifs, and colloquialisms certain to the Black local community. No matter if it’s producing Twitter threads on a person of YSL’s product muses, or Beyoncé’s Homecoming looks at Coachella, she explores the intersectionality of Black culture and fashion to build visibility and awareness of the frequently-forgotten affect of Black people on fashion for hundreds of years.
Her in-depth research, main resources, and transformation of historic text with online material like memes and trending subjects to make tutorial topics more available, has permitted her to garner desire from manner luminaries like Gucci Imaginative Director and Black designer, Dapper Dan, Anifa Mvuemba, Zerina Akers. Christie has also partnered with notable substantial profiled manufacturers Netflix, CFDA, and TIDAL. Via her tireless and meticulous investigate, she has solidified herself as a reputable and reliable professional of Black vogue and costume design and style history.
Dominique Fluker: How did you become a noteworthy manner and costume historian?
Shelby Ivey Christie: My career journey has been dual-pathed. I got my start in vogue interning at W Journal in Tumble 2011. I experienced dropped out of college or university at NC A&T SU a yr prior. I had enrolled in college or university as a style merchandising significant. However, I was also commencing to be interested in heritage. Versus my parent’s needs, I snuck and improved my important to History, but then I missed my prior vogue curriculum. I returned to NC A&T SU in 2012 as a Record important and acquired my B.A. in Race, Course, and Tradition in 2015. Upon graduating, I interned at InStyle Magazine in the accessories department.
I hadn’t beforehand uncovered to the company aspect of style, but I experienced my sights established on it as my next action. After my internship concluded at the end of the summer, I threw myself into exploring and applying to market roles, and I landed at Mindshare as an Associate Media Planner. A calendar year and a fifty percent into my time there, I was recruited to be a part of Vogue’s Electronic media crew as a Media Planner.
I love the enterprise side of luxurious and vogue. I nonetheless get the job done as a luxury advertising manager whole-time. Even so, it took me leaving Vogue to do the operate that I do now to doc costume and dress by way of the historic lens. It would have been a conflict of curiosity to be so vocal and critical about brands in the way that I am now, as I worked on luxury manner accounts at Vogue. The content started out in January 2018 right after my Vogue time simply because I could be much more open up on my platforms. I became a Manner Historian by lastly converging my two enjoys and occupations: vogue and background. I recognized that there was a big gaping gap in a vogue wherever Blackness need to be. I took it on myself to get started documenting and highlighting untapped Black contributions to fashion.
Fluker: Discuss to how the style historical past and enterprise are interconnected.
Christie: Fashion heritage specifically affects fashion because the record of manner is not simply just that – It is not just a heritage of clothes or design and style. Trend is political, with societal and cultural implications. The business facet of fashion’s lack of knowing about unique cultural and racial heritage like Blackface and Black caricatures experienced led them down the route of including Blackface and other blatantly racist imagery in collections and on runways, which impacts their enterprises. Those people organizations have experienced to create out PR campaigns to alter general public notion of their brands. They’ve had to recruit D&I talent and build out range teams to recommend them internally. Not possessing an understanding of the racist background as it relates to fashion cost them revenue, means, and appreciable blows to brand notion.
A different example of how vogue background touches the manner organization is cultural appropriation and erasure in style and design. Time and time again, we have noticed fashion brand names stake declare to innovations or developments that originated from Black society. We also see many Black designers, Black stylists, Black Costume Designers, and Black photographers are entirely erased from trend heritage or recent trend discussions that really should include them. If you want to discover much more about a society’s society, glimpse to vogue first.
Fluker: You might be greatly recognized on Twitter as the @bronze_bombSHEL with in excess of 39K+ followers. How has social media amplified your operate inside of the trend area?
Christie: Social media has been the primary home for my content more than the very last a few a long time. It has served the tales I share and the discussions I start all over Blackness in trend get to an viewers of men and women who would not otherwise be intrigued in trend. Individuals who aren’t doing the job in the manner industry, or even remotely vested in this designer or that collection, interact with me about race, course, and culture and how these points relate to fashion. I believe social media has permitted me to change how style is covered and talked about in the broader ethos. In 2017 there may well have been a handful of us constantly discussing Blackness and variety associated to trend. Now there is a wave of content material committed to this subject matter. I feel my social media information has a lot to do with driving those people discussions and planting them way ahead of it was taboo to talk about them brazenly. Even the structure in which I present my written content has improved the way manner is lined. I purpose to make style and the topics I talk about available to everybody who wants to study. Because it is really social media, the written content won’t have to in shape Chicago type or MLA structure. I can convey it in a way that is normal for me and accessible to other people. I use memes and align the subjects with well-known culture to get persons to interact. My strategy is not classic, but now I see my fashion/format of presenting trend material adopted across the landscape. I think social media has enabled Black vogue stories to achieve a mass audience and has improved how vogue content is presented for the better.
I’m blessed that manufacturer and market voices appear to me for my know-how, ideas, and thoughts. My key objective when approaching partnerships is authenticity. My group and I want to be positive that anything at all I say sure to will make sense for the function that I do. Is the partnership going to genuinely support amplify Black style expertise or the work they’ve finished? Is it going to enable get sources, information, or knowledge about Blackness in fashion? I’m also mindful to companion with teams or men and women who embody the spirit of the perform. I want there to be synergies there. If the answers to individuals questions are indeed, then a unique, enlightening, and, most importantly, the entertaining partnership can be shaped.
Fluker: As an advocate for accessibility and range in the style business, you also goal to elevate Black voices and designers. Share how your work delivers a platform for Black people’s contributions to the field whilst promoting new Black designers.
Christie: My platform balances deep-diving into the contributions of Black trend figures of the past and amplifies the get the job done of present-day Black vogue expertise. It is really amazing simply because many of the style figures from the earlier that I share are nevertheless right here with us. So, I can encourage folks to comply with them and support their present function in genuine-time.
When it arrives to new and present-day Black fashion expertise, I adore championing, supporting, and sharing them with my audience. It really is an honor to use my system to inspire some others to assistance Black manner expertise, store Black designers, and introduce my viewers to fresh Black manner expertise.
Fluker: It truly is no key that the trend marketplace has experienced thanks to COVID-19. How are you contributing to pushing the style market ahead in moments of unprecedented transform?
Christie: Most promptly, I have lent my platform to Black Costume Designers, who are also a component of the style sector but are generally still left out of business conversations. Costume Structure in Television set and Film is how I came to know and adore style. I am individually vested in ensuring Black costume designers get far more visibility and credit for the vogue function they do on monitor. On the other hand, during this pandemic, I wanted to do so when many collection and flicks have halted filming, and Costumers, especially Black customers, could have wholly stopped operate. I’ve savored hosting Stacy Beverly on my IG Live to talk about her wonderful costume of the early 2000s, cult-typical sitcom Girlfriends. I also experienced the wonderful enjoyment of conversing with Beyonce’s Stylist and Black is King Costume Designer Zerina Akers about all of the cultural nuances in the costumes and styling in Black is King.
I’m continuing to do the perform of highlighting and documenting Black vogue contributions on my platforms. Nevertheless, I’ve actively partnered with makes and media to amplify Blackness in style outside of my social platforms to get to a broader viewers. I am actively working with my voice, knowledge, and system to inform Black stories throughout COVID since as considerably as the field as a entire is struggling beneath the body weight of COVID implications, even more so, are our Black style expertise.
Fluker: How has the vogue business changed through COVID-19? Any ideas on how to hold the marketplace afloat?
Christie: There have been ongoing adjustments. We’ve observed the regular brick and mortar retail structure acquire massive hits, we have viewed layoffs sweep the field, and demand/setting up wrestle to satisfy orders without delay. I do not think there just isn’t one particular area of the industry that has not been impacted by COVID. However, there has been tremendous innovation, pushed by Black designers, spurred by COVID. Telfar Clemons had wholly transformed the pre-buy/Hoopla structure of advertising items with his mass searching bag pre-get past month. We saw Anifa Mvuemba make background as the first designer to host a entirely AR digital fashion display. Like Christopher John Rogers, Edvin Thompson, TLZ L’Femme, and Edwin Thompson, fashion designers keep on to set out sizeable collections in the course of a pandemic. What I enjoy most is that many grassroots. Black designers are popping up in the field and bringing with them freshness.
I assume the pandemic is forcing creatives to sit still and look at what they want and how they want to execute points. We’re observing persons placing out their very own prepared to wear to like Wole Olosunde, who is leveraging his complete-time career as a nurse through COVID to start out a label inspired by human autonomy. We’re also looking at extra Black women phase into the grassroots design and style room through COVID. I consider that COVID has hit the vogue field tough, but it truly is the Black talent in the sector who have discovered a way to innovate regardless of that. Which what Record has shown us time and time all over again. When we search again around the generations, there is a lengthy background of Black people all over the diaspora acquiring to grapple with struggle or absence and from that came innovation.
Fluker: What is actually next for you, Shelby?
Christie: I’m wanting to get into Tv set and film producing for scripted and unscripted initiatives. I intention to work on Television set/movie jobs that are time period parts, fashion related, or have material centers all-around Blackness. I’d also really like to get into costume design and style. But they say if you want to make God chuckle, notify him your designs. I’m remaining open to what alternatives appear my way.