“It’s about letting people who have never been included in this industry know that it exists,” Ms. Nasr said. “I am very aware that I, as a brown woman, have this incredible platform.”
Though it may be a natural conclusion that once you change the top, the bottom will follow — that there will be a trickle-down effect — Ms. Davidson cautions against any such assumption. “There were Asian designers in New York who had the least diverse runways,” she said. “You’d think being in a minority would make you more sensitive to representing the breadth of the population, but our data does not support that.”
Nevertheless, Ms. Nasr believes that simply by attrition, if not intent, things are changing. That a new generation is on the rise that looks more like the population they serve, like Tyler Mitchell, the young black photographer who became the first African-American to shoot a cover of Vogue in the magazine’s 125-year history when he shot Beyoncé for the September issue.
Or Shaniqwa Jarvis, who has photographed ad campaigns for Liberty of London, Supreme and Nike; or Nikki Ogunnaike, the style director of Elle.com; or Lacy Redway, a hairstylist who works with Ruth Negga and Priyanka Chopra, among others. Ms. Nasr is “really hopeful” about the future.
Indeed, on Wednesday Condé Nast announced that Lindsay Peoples Wagner would become the editor in chief of Teen Vogue, a title previously held by Elaine Welteroth — who, when she was named to the post in 2016, was only the second African-American editor of a Condé Nast magazine in the United States. (Keija Minor of Brides was the first; Ms. Peoples Wagner is the third.)
Formerly the fashion editor of New York magazine, she is the author of a widely read article published earlier this year, “Everywhere and Nowhere,” which explored “what it’s really like to be black and work in fashion.”