In 2020, after the Black Lives Matter movement swept the nation following the murder of George Floyd, creative industries faced a reckoning over systemic racism and the lack of representation of Black talent. Antoine Gregory was ahead of the curve: four years prior, the fashion stylist, consultant, and Theophilio brand director started a Twitter thread shouting out numerous “Black designers you should know” that included the likes of Shayne Oliver, Martine Rose, and Grace Wales Bonner. That endeavor soon evolved into Black Fashion Fair, an exhaustive online library and e-commerce marketplace of Black creators and entrepreneurs.
Just in time for New York Fashion Week, Gregory has released Black Fashion Fair’s inaugural print product, which highlights the influence of Black fashion designers through imaginative shoots and incisive interviews. Called “Volume 0: Seen,” the nearly 200-page tome features work by industry forces such as Pyer Moss founder Kerby Jean-Raymond and Theophilio’s Edvin Thompson, and photographers such as Amber Pinkerton and Quil Lemons, each of whom were given carte blanche to realize their visions without the influence of magazine editors. “These pages are about collaboration and the power of community,” Gregory says. “As we continue to create references for the future, Black Fashion Fair becomes our own institution of exhibition, discovery, and research.”
The book, which is ad-free thanks to support of eyewear brand Warby Parker, can be purchased on the Black Fashion Fair’s website and Mulberry Iconic Magazine in Manhattan. (The limited editions sold out quickly, but the collectors’ editions are still available for $300 as of this writing.) The volume’s immediate success is not only an indictment on the fashion magazine gatekeeping that kept Black voices marginalized for so long, but it’s a blueprint for print’s future as a creative medium.