(adj): popular, fashionable.
The descriptive term, “vogue,” has many definitions. I started the Black Vogue movement in an effort to start a conversation that was long overdue and so that my people (from the African diaspora) would be acknowledged, celebrated and given their deserved respect and recognition. The fashion industry has lacked diversity for years and still continues to appropriate black culture via style, dress, hair etc.
This appropriation of black culture has robbed many black models, designers and artists of opportunities to be involved in the fashion industrial complex as designers and photographers opt for white or ambiguous-race looking models to portray blackness.
Although our culture is the origin of many celebrated styles, we are often ostracized or fetishized while many fashion outlets that follow this narrative, nevertheless, continue to thrive and succeed.
We know that Black Culture, is in fact popular and fashionable. This truth can be found easily as black culture has prevailed in fashion and style in looks throughout many generations.
Therefore, I created the black vogue movement to address this problem, and provide an outlet for black people to celebrate themselves despite the false narrative of the fashion industry. This narrative includes images of black people portrayed as "ghetto" before that same portrayal becomes a new trend. We are not afforded the opportunity to have our indigenous fashion ethic deemed as "style" even when we are the true creators of pop-culture's definition of "style."
After being featured in Vogue Magazine twice, I am now being sued by Vogue Magazine for describing this movement as "Black Vogue." Specifically, I am being accused of tarnishing the value of the Vogue magazine brand among other things.
However, it has never been my intent to degrade the “Vogue” brand or become “unfair competition.” I simply wanted to make a statement. Without a proper conversation, progress is not possible and today more than ever we need open dialogue. I made a statement and proceeded to keep the conversation going by creating other controversial pieces and phrases such as “Ghetto Until Proven Fashionable,” “Ghetto,” “Can’t Have the Culture Without the Struggle,” and “Dear White People.” "Black Vogue" is a statement. I am grateful beyond belief as I’ve watched my community identify with my messages, offer an overwhelming amount of support and wear my apparel proudly because they too believed that it was a message worth addressing with the ultimate goal of correcting the conversation.
I am extremely ready to start this journey with you all. I promise to be extremely transparent and I feel obligated to inform you all that I, Nareasha Willis, Fashion Activist from the Ghetto have succeeded at my goal to shake the industry and open this conversation. As I prepare to fight my case with Vogue Magazine, I will continue to fight and make room for my people, the black culture and black fashion. I hope you all will continue to support me on this journey as I am sure it will be a roller coaster ride; but I am ready.
I am not the only designer that a major magazine has gone after, nor will I be the last. But I do plan for them to hear me out, hear us out and understand that the word “vogue” is for everyone, especially for the Black Culture. Black Vogue is a movement, a lifestyle! You can attempt to take the shirt, but you can’t take the movement. We don’t want the brand, we ultimately want to be celebrated and the deserved recognition.
As you all know may or may not know this process will not be cheap. As I am running this movement and provide you all with the high quality items from my fashion line AVNU that you all are used to and expecting from me, financially this will take a toll on my personal life and my business. I have started a Go Fund me account, the money raised through this account will be STRICTLY used for the cost of legal fees throughout this process. Should you all be interested in supporting this fight and cause by donating what you can.
Thank you in advance,
DonationsSee top donations
- Maiya Monson
- Christian McKenzie
- Brooke White
- Wevly Wilson
- DShonda Brown
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more