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Acknowledging the Racial Divide Within the Fashion Industry

Vanessa Friedman | New York Times   in  · ·
February 17, 2015

When Michelle Obama stepped onto the stage at the Democratic National Convention in 2012 to talk about her husband and the coming election, the Internet went into an effective group swoon. Words like “spotlight stealing” and “dazzling” were used with abandon. Not about the first lady’s speech, but about her dress: a shimmering pink and silver sleeveless number by the designer Tracy Reese.

Though Mrs. Obama had worn Tracy Reese before, she had never worn the brand in such a high-profile forum, to such universal acclaim. Consensus was, another career had been made — just as Jason Wu shot to prominence after he created Mrs. Obama’s first inaugural ball dress — and a role model born: Ms. Reese is African-American, and her new found fame would, the chatter went, have repercussions when it came to diversity in the fashion world far beyond the evening…

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