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Kimberly Jenkins Relaunches The Fashion and Race Database

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Lecturer Kimberly Jenkins has a goal in mind: to decolonize the current state of the fashion world. With the official relaunch of the online educational platform The Fashion and Race Database earlier this month, Jenkins hopes to reframe the narrative, providing a space of compiled educational resources that will “expand the narrative of fashion history and challenge mis-representation within the fashion system.”

The concept of a collective informational space began in 2017 as a collaboration between Jenkins and co-scholar Rikki Byrde. Eventually, Jenkins branched out to create fashionandrace.com, a home base for books, articles, and other resources that sought to educate on a global perspective of the interactions between race and fashion. Jenkins, who taught the popular course “Fashion and Race” at Parsons University, recognized a lack of accessible online resources relating to her own course topic, and began to work toward crafting her own website.

The re-launch of the Database was sparked by Jenkins’ teaching position at Ryerson University in Toronto, where she was able to collaborate with other academics to compile the most topical and relevant resources and materials. According to the Database’s Instagram page, Jenkins’ main question in her creative process was, “How can I create an invaluable online resource that is filled with the tools needed to better inform society? How can I make fashion academia ‘cool’ and accessible? How can I create unique research and publishing opportunities for BIPOCs?” ⁣With its recently re-designed website and a wealth of actively available resources, The Fashion and Race Database is already beginning to create a positive stir in the fashion world.

The Database recently announced a re-organization, with information being presented in one of six different categorical sections. The Library, Objects that Matter, Profiles, Essays & Opinion, The Directory, and The Calendar each relate to a different element of research and education, with some of the sections being directly dedicated to uplifting BIPOC voices.

As the website gains traction, the next steps for the Fashion and Race Database are to fine-tune the formula, continue to raise awareness and funds to support and uplift staff and collaborators, and provide platforms and research opportunities for BIPOC individuals. The Database kicked off its first fundraising campaign this week with comedian John Mulaney and his wife Anna, a textile artist and fashion researcher, announcing that they will match donations up to ,000.

Explore The Fashion and Race Database here.

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