I really do love a birthday and this is one worth celebrating. In honor of my baby turning a year old, I thought it would be fitting to reflect on why I began this site and why the cause is still relevant.
The Mode Official Celebrates One Year Anniversary!
Yours truly trying to ‘smile’.
Time really fucking flies. Just a year ago I launched this baby and I can’t believe 365 days have gone by so quickly. I remember working in the buying office at Saks Fifth Avenue bouncing ideas through my head about what creative project I could venture out on and put my energy into. This was about a year before the launch of the website. I knew I wanted a site that could serve as a platform for people of color in the fashion industry. The pushers and movers that don’t get the shine they deserve. I also knew that I wanted the site to be less about me and completely about them. I wanted a site that people of color aspiring to be a part of the fashion industry could utilize to learn about what’s going on in fashion and connect with others like themselves who have paved the way. I wanted to create The Mode Official because when I began my journey into the fashion industry I knew of no such resource and had no one to guide me.
Fast forward to a year later: one that was filled with many brainstorming sessions, bouts of determent and feelings of discouragement. I quit my job, left my hometown of Brooklyn, New York and relocated across the country to Oakland, California with the hopes of launching The Mode Official to the world. On April 14th, 2014 at 14:00 hours, I did just that.
My vision for the site hasn’t changed much. The focus is still all about fashion with a spotlight on my people, and the content supports that. In the past year, every single time I’ve felt ‘over’ maintaining the site or wanted to pull the plug on the entire thing, I was reminded of why I began in the first place. Emails from readers saying “to keep up the good work,” text messages from friends relaying how the site has been connecting and comments from users on Instagram telling me how much they love The M.O. always seem to be timed perfectly for receipt on the days when I’d given up… in my head at least. They all kept me going.
Shining a spotlight on the business side of fashion was also one of my main goals. It was important to include Saks Fifth Avenue buyers like Jamillah K. Davis-Hernandez and Taara Latif on this site because both ladies are real life black women who are working hard behind the scenes of fashion. Both take on the task of bringing the best merchandise to Saks Fifth Avenues across the country daily; Merchandise we take for granted but lest we forget, someone actually spent months putting that assortment together. Michelle Nettles, a fabulous Styling Manager at Net-a-porter as well as Marketing Manager Brooke Auston, formerly of Versace (currently at the Jordan Brand) are also key players for their respective companies. These are the people that never get written about. I wanted to create a platform for them and I am very grateful that they agreed to help make my vision a reality.
Lastly, I wanted to touch on diversity as a whole. It’s an ongoing battle and struggle. Diversity on the runway peaked during the Spring/Summer 2014, which can be attributed to Bethann Hardison, Iman, Naomi Campbell and more calling out designers for not using many models of color in their shows. But old habits die hard and the seasons after have been dismal. Lupita Nyong’o has helped to change the world’s idea of beauty when it comes to being a black woman in Hollywood but the adverse effect of that is tokenism. Landing many fashion magazine covers including American Vogue is a great achievement and hopefully it will help make room for others. Designers of color are still struggling to get the recognition they deserve in a world filled with Prada, Gucci and Dior. And let’s not forget the pushers and movers behind the scenes of fashion. The lack of diversity extends deep into the business world.
So as you see, the cause remains, and I’d like to stick around to effect some change. I hope the next year can see more inclusion for people of color all across the board. And speaking of boards, I’ll be going back to the drawing board to see how this site can further achieve that goal. There’s so much more to do. Stay tuned.
xo natalia apple ♥ ♥ ♥