By Michaela Felix
The age that someone realizes what they want to do with the rest of their life varies so much it’s hard to pin point a median age when everyone finally discovers it. While my roommate Elizabeth realized she wanted to be a pediatrician in her freshman year of high school, my other roommate Sophia only just finalized that she wanted to work in finance. I was blessed to realize early on in my high school career that I wanted to be a fashion journalist.
Once I realized what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I did heavy research on other people in my potential field. What I noticed almost immediately is how I didn’t see people who looked like me. The fashion industry is already infamous for its almost exclusive nature and continues to prove that time and time again. Thankfully, as years have progressed more people (specifically women) are emerging in a field usually dominated by white women.
Below I have compiled a list of four amazing and fashion-forward women of color who not only lead in the office but in breaking barriers and looking fierce while doing so. They are not only role models for me career-wise but life wise too! Hopefully these women can inspire you, whether it be fashion inspiration or any other form of inspiration that sparks within you.
- Elaine Welteroth (@elainewelteroth): Editor-in-Chief at Teen Vogue
Appointed as the new (and first black editor-in-chief) of Teen Vogue this past spring, Welteroth has already made huge, progressive steps to making Teen Vogue not only a publication for a younger fashion-conscious audience but also a platform to discuss important issues such as the #BlackLivesMatter movement and feminist issues.
2. Nikki Ogunnaike (@nikkiogun): Senior Fashion Editor at ELLE.com
A Virginia native who found herself in New York City, this Nigerian woman makes sure to sprinkle some Black Girl Magic in her pieces. Not to mention that not only is she a journalist, but her sister Lola Ogunnaike (@lolaogunnaike) is also a journalist and wrote an amazing cover story on Orange is the New Black Star Uzo Aduba for Essence’s September issue.
Still on the trend of sisters in fashion, these two are certainly worth following. Danielle’s experience includes working for Teen Vogue, Moda Operandi, and Nylon (just to name a few!) and left her position as an InStyle Accessories Editor this past spring to work at obsessee, a social media-exclusive publication. The sisters were also recently featured in Tory Sport, as they are both avid tennis players.
4. Chrissy Rutherford (@chrissyford): Senior Digital Fashion Editor at HarpersBazaar.com
To round out this group of extraordinary women, Rutherford has jobs at publications like InStyle and Cosmopolitan under her belt. As for landing her spot at Harper’s Bazaar’s digital site, the Fairfield University graduate first interned in their fashion closet two summers in a row.
While these are just a few of the women I look up to in the fashion industry, there are a slew of other women working at the helm of publications such as Julie Sarr Jamois, Marjon Carlos, and Tiffany Reid. Fashion (to me) is an expression of oneself and being able to write about it is a reflection of how one interprets it. Seeing how women who I relate to showcase their take on fashion inspires me in ways I cannot express in words. Representation matters, in all fields, in all spaces.