Opinion: Tommy Hilfiger saying he invented ‘Allyship’ streetwear is the buzzword of 2021 and black women are tired
(Photo by Kate Green / BFC / Getty Images for BFC)
Tommy Hilfiger gave an interview to Hypebeast where he expressed his belief that he invented the billion dollar streetwear industry. “I think I was the first designer to ever do streetwear,” he is said to have said. April Walker was incredulous at this statement. “Wait what? Ummmmmm ……”, the veteran streetwear designer responsible for Tyson’s most iconic trunks and Tupac’s hard-hitting impact Above the rim looks, posted under a screenshot of the article on her Instagram page.
The sentiment in Walker’s Legend was popular. The comments were quickly inundated with members of the fashion elite and the media elite. Julee Wilson, Eboni K. Williams and Miss Lissa Knows each responded.
Hilfiger also praised himself for deigning to hire gorgeous and popular black people to endorse and model the products his company was trying to sell at a profit. “I’m surprised it took so long to realize that they should actually use people of color in their advertising, or hire people of color. I can’t believe it took so long to get there. For me, it’s obvious. I don’t understand, ”he would have said.
“A lot of companies are now talking about inclusion and diversity as if it is something new, yet we have been doing it for fifty years,” he added. “It has always been a place for people, it was about creating and offering fashion to people from all walks of life. ”
The internet quickly cried foul.
Some have used blue baseball caps to express their displeasure and others have resurfaced the rumors regarding his reported views on rap royalty.
To their credit, the brand has exercised and renewed its commitment to inclusion in several ways throughout its life – with the help of talented black women including Aaliyah, Naomi Campbell, Winnie Harlow, Indya Moore and Zendaya. But that’s not really the point.
The fact that whites want so much credit for not being overtly hateful that Dictionary.com has actually declared the 2021 word ‘ally’ to be.
It’s never about black women and their contributions as it should be. Instead, they have to wait for the mic to go through after each fleeting moment of indignation.
To be an ally, it is to do it without smoothing out.
It should go without saying, but you are not credited for doing the things you are meant to do.
The job of designers is to create clothes that people want to wear and brands that they want to brag about. Black people were at the forefront of culture and they helped sell the brand so they were hired to do it. It is not an act of social justice not to act in your own best interests while ignoring the rampant rise in the impact of black culture.
Women like Rikki Hughes and Misa Hylton have worked to correct streetwear history with informative elements from shows like HBO Max. The hype and Netflix Watch The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion.
“Although it’s a $ 160 billion industry, a lot of people didn’t know about this world,” Hughes told ESSENCE in September.
Do you know who does? Black woman. It was black women who brought the racing sweatshirts to center stage. Black women wore mismatched laces and airbrushed T-shirts. It was black women who determined that the 5411 was a must-have.
This whole industry was built from our baby hair light years before we ‘made it pink and shrunk’, and that has to be clear.
Hilfiger’s bold claims have been at the center of the media frenzy surrounding streetwear’s rise to the heights of haute couture, but it’s the story of Walker and other black women who should be sitting at the center of the frame. that they helped create.