The Truth Behind Gianvito Rossi Snubbing Serena Williams!!

They referred to the tennis pro as ‘disgusting’ and ‘made it clear that the company did not want African-American women to wear its shoes,’ the suit says. – Daily Mail 

well…. I done a bit of a rant on my Twitter which I moved to instagram stories. Because despite my experience of black celebs being snubbed by big brands, most of us will never know if Gianvito Rossi snubbed Serena Williams (based on her ethnicity) unless they admit to it. This seems to be a reoccurring story we have with a lot of high-end brands!

As a stylist, I am no stranger to seeing Black A-list celebrities, who are attending Red Carpet events having high-end brands like Louboutin refusing to loan to them. I have had my fair share of experiencing brands refusing to dress my black celebrity clients (even for magazine front covers) but are willing to gift and loan to my white clients (Note: whom some have overwhelming talent but) whose popularity is rooted from social media.

I feel that both high-end and low-end brands have their preferences, but I definitely find it easier to dress my white clients and that’s me being honest!

But what I can tell you, is that I am weary. Solange’s album ‘A seat at the table’ wasn’t a passing fancy for me. Her songs illustrated what is ‘my life’ almost everyday!

We are constantly talking about boycotting brands because of the lack of diversity and rumours of them not wanting to dress black customers. But how are we to trust the media and the constant “he-says she-says”?

The Truth….

I have recently been working with more and more PR’s and brands… bless them for their support! It honestly makes me feel happy that I can talk about brands and products on my social media who feel that I am a target audience for them! Seeing them comment and repost my content brings me joy.

As an experienced gal in the industry, what I can tell you is that most PR’s handle a brands social media or have a heavy hand in what should be posted.
I always talk about the power PR’s have, as they ultimately dictate where the clothing goes. They make sure that product placements represent the brands target audience and that the correct type of content is being created i.e. in magazines/red carpet etc.
Most PR’s are contacted daily by a wide range of people/ethnicities and if they have a target media that is not being met… they will consciously go out of their way and contact a celeb or a celebrities stylist (who looks after celebs) who meet their target audience.

I will never forget hearing high-end brands say no to Kelly Rowland… that would never have happened in USA I think. Then right after the women’s march in London, when all these high street & high-end brands were parading feminist content. I presented them with a black celebrity of mine who was attending the Grammys with a nomination (who also owns a female charity for girls) but the majority said no… but then said yes to a white client I was styling the following week (attending an event that wasn’t red carpet). It really brought me to tears… I’ll be real with you all. I am not that sensitive when it comes to work, but I had to make some angry phone calls to some of my stylist friends. They shared my grief but neither were they surprised. This experience felt very personal to me because it was very real!

 

Photography by Essien Akan

What’s the resolution?

Let’s face it.. I love high street brands and I am sure you do too! So shouting “lets boycott all brands” ain’t gonna work.. we like convenience and right now as a black girl there isn’t a strong enough black owned company representing black girls that is going to replace Topshop for me (Topshop represents black girls btw..). My first thought is adjusting your moral compass. For example, I am a black owned business who sells mugs with motivational quotes… at one point they were selling for £2.50 each on sale and most of my customers –  I knew who they were and they were white. If you also look at who is consistently promoting my mugs… it is my white customers.

It’s not like black people don’t know who I am and what I stand for. Am I selfish person… no… am I a millionaire… no.. I spend everyday hustling as a self-employed stylist, who films YouTube tutorials in my spare time educating the next generation of stylists. Yet ‘my people’ are not supporting me! I find a lot of people will tell you well done and will compliment you on how well you are doing but they want to see you do good… but the fear of you becoming better than them is what will discourage them from supporting you like they should!

So if your friend or someone you know has a business.. SUPPORT THEM! Encourage them in any way you can for them to keep pushing and building a successful business so that they can one day be as big as Dorothy Perkins, Topshop, ASOS etc.

There is enough room for all of us!!

financially.. a lot of black business are struggling and that is why they end up going mainstream. If you have wealth or power in the media… go out of your way to promote black owned brands and give them a kick-start! Adjust your moral compass to see that without you making a conscious effort to support small businesses and budding dreams of people who are different ethnicities, to me your just another person screaming empty words of ‘no-equality’.

 

Featuring Beauty by JJ – One of many leading Black Make-up girls in UK!!!

So… put it this way. I’m now going to start to observe the social media of people whom I shop with…
If I do not see myself represented, I am going to make an effort to stop shopping with them. Also, when observing brands, I am somewhat disregarding TV adverts (like above). Because with adverts – that’s another story. They always get a shite pass with their ‘socially moral diversity reach’ by using a ‘just black enough’ black girl. Or since the rise in black males using make-up, the new L’oreal diversity campaign only aired a black man (in U.K. ) when representing the dark shade on T.V. From the bottom of my heart – Yasssss hunny! Slay! Congrats to him! But… its black women who are a majority buyer in make-up compared to the men in UK and I would have REALLY loved to see beauty by JJ representing dark shades on T.V… but ok. I will continue to scrape the barrel and say “at least the creative directing team are ‘reaching’ by showing someone black!

We all bleed the same, share earth and should celebrate our uniqueness. If you want me to be honest, I would love to go down the beauty aisle in Asda and not get three shelves with two brands for my hair & skin where everyone else gets the entire aisle. Or you know that disappointing walk into Superdrug and they don’t have the darker shades that all the American girls are howling about on youtube! I mean… I am not an alien for Pete sake!! For me, this is a conscious effort I want brands to start making. especially the buyers for different stores!

But, social media importance is highly underrated! Social media is a multimillion business guys!!! It gives you intimacy with a brand on another level. Behind it, is a group of people with targets, talent and a mission of driving sales!

So let’s be real for a moment!!! Brands will feature, collaborate and repost content i.e. outfits, make-up with people they honestly like and people who fit their target audience. Fact? *side eye*

Do you know how many black Influencers are gifted by certain brands to get their black followers to buy… but then you look at the brands social media account and they are not even reposting the influencers content AT ALL!!

 

 

Challenge

I researched 5 people I shop with and 3 of 5 didn’t represent me on their social media page…
Go on… check this personally…. and Beyoncé and Rihanna DO NOT COUNT!! – don’t be corny!

 

“black girl Gifs”

We are in 2017 guys… FFS… why am I making a brand money and/or putting them on a platform if they

  1. Don’t feel I’m their target audience or
  2. They aren’t bold enough to care about customers like me who are sharing content about their products!!!

Trust me, there is no shortage in content for these brands… Just check their hashtags! And just like ASOS they have the facilities to create content:

ASOS Black hair tutorial

If you think I am aiming for a ‘shock factor’ here.. you have me all wrong! We know inequality exists… but I am here for awareness and the balance of brands realising we are customers too! None of this will happen until you change your buying habits. When this changes.. the people behind the figures and money will be forced to change their strategy (with content) and their ‘reach’. Worse case scenario.. if they don’t want you to shop there, they won’t try.. so then shopping will just become easier for you no?

I want you to do this challenge because nothing can explain the feeling when I personally went on the accounts of brands who I give £100’s of money too and make sales for. Then realising they weren’t even reposting/creating content with anyone who looks like me. Even the skinny black girls with unicorn hair weren’t getting airtime…. (that’s another story).

I work as a fashion Stylist and I am grateful to the brands who help me do my job – whether they promote ‘my kind’ or not. I get to dress some of my celebrities in some amaaaazing bits.

But as stylist, I also know how to play the game and sadly have to teach others how to play it too.. I know who to go to for samples (in terms of brands) for particular ethnicities, ages and sex’s of my clients. because if I push my luck, I know I will get that automated PR response:

“sorry we are really low on samples at the moment”

or

“Unfortunately we are re-branding at the moment and this person doesn’t meet out target market”

I know other stylists have seen this too!! LOOOOLLL!! I CAN NOTTTTT!! *Dies*

they think we haven’t caught on…

End note

I feel I have a to stay moral & real with my followers/supporters. Although I promote items which girls like me will love I make sure I create content that doesn’t alienate other ethnicities. I think we need just one less fake promotion post out there in the world, so I said I would promote brands and products that actually fit me.. so if you have thick thighs, wide feet and a curvy frame, feel free to check out my lookbooks! But I will also now begin to promote those who REALLY support diversity in their social media content.

Maybe you will join me and help make a change.

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