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Kevan Hall, Angela Dean And TJ Walker Talk Honoring Ruth E. Carter

Ruth E. Carter
Academy Award-nominated costume designer Ruth E. Carter, who recently worked on “Black Panther,” shares inspiring stories with high school students Saturday, March 10, 2018, during a panel discussion of Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Magazine at Epcot in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The 11th annual Disney Dreamers Academy, taking place March 8-11, 2018 is a career-inspiration program for distinguished high school students from across the U.S. (Todd Anderson, photographer)

*Kevan Hall, Angela Dean and TJ Walker sat down to talk about their company Black Design Collective, Black fashion and the celebration of Ruth E. Carter.

Earlier this month, EURweb correspondent Rocky Harris sat down with the founders of Black Design Collective, an organization of black designers expressing individual unique design excellence. The organization aims to bring awareness of the history and relevance of the global impact of black design through resources, mentorship, e-commerce platform, and business platforms, according to BDC’s website. The interview took place at Hall’s atelier located 8313 Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles.

The BDC states its mission is promote and provide a platform for Black designers, and celebrate those who have impacted their world with their craft. Additionally, the organization provides mentorship and hands-on experience for up and coming Black creatives in the fashion industry. The BDC this year is coming together to celebrate the efforts of Ruth E. Carter, the Black American costume designer who took home an Oscar for her extraordinary work on the multiple award-winning film Black Panther. “It was so exciting,” Dean exclaimed, explaining her response to Carter’s Oscar win. “How did you feel when Carter won, what was that like,” asked Harris. “Oh, we were excited!” Walker said. Hall, Dean and Walker all shared their happiness. “I mean it was incredible, we were all screaming,” Hall said. “So happy for her!”

The three explained Carter’s win is what BDC wants to promote more of: giving Black fashion artists the chance. “That’s what it’s all about. We want to give people who don’t have the resources the tools to get noticed and eventually get jobs,” Walker.

Kevan Hall, Angela Dean and TJ Walker
Kevan Hall, Angela Dean and TJ Walker

Black fashion is influences so much of American culture, as well as culture around the world. Some notable Black fashion designers have now become a part of mainstream companies. One person in particular is Dapper Dan, who recently came out with a program for Black designers to join Gucci, following the controversial “Blackface sweater.” Harris questioned, “A lot of people were upset with Gucci after that incident; do you think Dan should have stepped down?” Altogether the group replied “No.” “Because what would that help? We need more Black designers in those spaces,” Hall replied. “And that’s exactly why that happened, not enough Black faces in those rooms to make the right decisions and speak out when a mistake is about to be made,” Dean said.

Harris then asked, “When was a time where you realized you were alone as a Black person at a fashion company?” With hesitance, Dean replied, “Many times.” She continued, “Do you know Madonna’s iconic pointed “Bullet bra?” I designed that. No one knows that, but I did. I never received credit for it,” she said. “There was a lot that went into it but…that’s long gone and over now, but that’s the very thing BDC wants to make sure of is that Black designers have a voice.”

‘BLACK PANTHER’ COSTUME DESIGNER RUTH CARTER ON PAFF PANEL ABOUT BLACK AESTHETIC ON FASHION (PHOTOS)

Kevan Hall's studioRocky Harris kevan hall - Angela Dean and her designs at Kevan Hall's studio

When it comes to cultural appropriation and appreciation, the designers relate that same sentiment. “Black culture and fashion influences everyone, and that’s fine. But we need to be able to reap those benefits and that dollar amount,” said Hall. “That’s the problem, we’re not getting paid,” Hall continued. “It’s not like back in our time, where we really didn’t have a platform. Now, Black designers are easily accessible and we have to use that to our advantage. Which is what we do at Black Design Collective,” Walker chimed in.

The three have dedicated their lives to making sure Black fashion designers alike have the power and guidance to break down more doors. Carter is this year’s honoree and the three are looking to continue highlighting talented Black designers.

“You’ll just have to wait and see. We definitely have someone in mind of who we want to celebrate next year, but you’ll just have to see,” said Walker.

Black Design Collective will honor Ruth E. Carter on Sunday, April 13 at the FIDM Museum in Downtown Los Angeles.

 

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