Comments: A Public Historian With a Passion for Fashion Reflects on the Industry's Response to BLM

July 23, 2020

The fashion and beauty industries, like many others, have had to decide how to respond to the Black Lives Matter Movement in the wake of the death of George Floyd. From announcements on social media to pledges to support Black businesses, the industry is examining how they can help foster racial equality and social justice within their own companies.

Public Historian and University of Richmond Visiting Lecturer Lauranett Lee, has taught the course "Fashion, Race, and Women's History." In 2014 she curated a museum exhibition titled, "Woman Adorned: Transcending Time, Transforming Culture." She spends her free time reading and growing her personal library on the history of beauty and fashion.

She offers the following comments on the transforming narrative in the industry:

“Beyond diversifying their Instagram feeds and crafting statements of solidarity, the power players in fashion and beauty need to acknowledge their biases and blind spots and move beyond “performative activism,” says Lee. "They need to ask themselves, how can we better reflect the diversity of American culture? Who is at the table when decisions are being made and who is not at the table?”

"That can only be done by engaging in the hard work of sustained dialogue with BIPOC to create substantive, meaningful, and long lasting change," she added. 

"Words are just words until they are backed up by action. At the intersection of The Black Lives Matter movement and the fashion and beauty industries resides a transformation in how we fashion ourselves and our world and the beauty we see in each other.” 


Note: Media wishing to connect with Lee as an expert resource can contact Lindsey Campbell, media relations specialist, at