Designing a Better Future for Racial Diversity in the Fashion Industry – B The Change

Written by Bark Media

As our cultural consciousness shifts amid a global pandemic and reckoning with racism, fashion is one of many industries holding a mirror to its own lack of representation. While Black-owned brands are gaining the long-overdue recognition they deserve, Black designers continue to struggle for representation. According to New York Magazine, “Within the Council of Fashion Designers of America, one of the industry’s most prominent trade organizations, only 3% of members are Black.”

Sean M. Horton understands this issue firsthand as an independent custom-fit clothing designer based in the Kansas City metro area. He owns SMH Atelier, a studio he opened just two years ago, pivoting from working at a Ford manufacturing plant to pursuing his lifelong aspirations of breaking into the fashion design scene.

Horton is leveraging his newfound success as a way to give back to his community and create change within his own sector. By identifying the gaps that he had to navigate while starting his career, he’s expanding SMH Atelier to provide internship opportunities for local college students to get hands-on design experience, create new positions for diverse seamstresses and tailors, and pursue partnerships with other designers of color.

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By Alessandra Leone
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