WBM Summer Series: The Fashion World’s Godmother Of The Industry- Fern Mallis Talks Inclusivity

September is here and New York Fashion Week is about to begin. But it will be nothing like we know it to have been in the past. We are still in the eye of the storm on so many levels. Still dealing with the pandemic, and the effects COVID19 is having on the world and effecting our travels and ability to get together. Couples are being forced to change their dates, their venues, and some have even decided to have more intimate soirees and invited guests via Zoom. This is unprecedented.

Throw into the mix a race war, and it becomes almost unbearable unless you address it head-on. There is no way we can continue in the path of burying our heads into the sand and think we can ignore it. We have to acknowledge that systemic racism unaddressed is a breeding ground for continuous problems.

The fashion industry is looking for countless ways to address this head-on and it can’t simply be talking, action is being taken by countless organizations. There are respected figures such as Lindsay Peoples Wagner
Nikki Ogunnaike, Tiffany Reid founders of Black Fashion Council. Bethann Hardison, Iman, and Naomi Campbell founders of Black Girls Coalition. The message that spearheaded the conversation started with Tom Ford making a commitment to forging change. Now the head of The CFDA has appointed a new president, CaSandra Diggs, and their initiatives. The purpose is simply to speak on the absence of Black women and men in an industry that have contributed greatly towards the industry’s success.

The historical Battle of Versailles shows the impact Black models had then and the countless of Black designers that were a part of the fabric woven to build this industry. “We started to go backward,” says Naomi and Iman at a recent talk, they noticed a lack of representation of Black bodies on the runways and in the ads. Why does that matter? “You send a message to Black little girls and women they are not wanted and they are not valued.” says Iman.

So we at World Bride Magazine can NOT sit by and not address it within our own arena. We want Black women, and other women of color to feel represented and invited to our platform. We want them to feel celebrated and seen. So the conversation with Fern Mallis was very important to us, as one of the figures during my growth in the fashion industry was personally felt. My interaction with Fern as little as it may have been had an impact on my desire to become a publisher, taking a leadership role in controlling the narrative of what the pages of our platform said and shared. My personal fashion mother, Lisa Silhanek was very instrumental in ensuring that I was brought to the table, and Fern and I had positive interchange and she understood my goal and mission for INCLUSION of Black women.

Carlton Jones Interviewing Fern Mallis

Fern’s position in fashion has been that of a powerhouse, but she has admitted to some of the drastic changes she saw in the industry. She has seen the shift of the industry from the attention being on the designers moving more towards the sponsors taking the front row at things…

Hailed as the award-winning creator of New York Fashion Week, Fern Mallis has been called an industry titan, doyenne, and The Godmother of Fashion. As the creator and host of premiere conversation series Fashion Icons w/Fern Mallis at New York’s prestigious 92nd Street Y, Mallis assembled an incredible roster of guests for her now signature in-depth interviews, including Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Tommy Hilfiger, Tom Ford, Michael Kors, Diane von Fürstenberg, Polly Mellen, Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta, André Leon Talley, Bruce Weber, Bill Cunningham, Valentino, Leonard A. Lauder, Tim Gunn, Victoria Beckham, Rosita and Angela Missoni, Alexander Wang, Russell Westbrook, Bob Mackie and Christian Louboutin, to name just a few. 

Mallis is widely and consistently photographed and quoted in the fashion press and broadcast media. She has been frequently featured on televised fashion and news magazine programs, including Project

Runway, America’s Next Top Model, She’s Got the Look, Bloomberg TV, and was a host with Isaac Mizrahi and Kelly Rowland on The Fashion Show. She is continuously featured on many podcasts, radio shows, and fashion industry news outlets. 

As you can tell she is not going anywhere. Her name is permentanly etch in stone of the fashion industry.

So please hear the conversation between us and her commitment to having the next generation of designers ask themselves “What am I doing with my company to be more inclusive in promoting diversity and INCLUSION?”This was one of the key questions she asked her panelist at the Nashville Fashion Week panel that I was privy to listen to.

So as things move forward, we each need to ask ourselves what side of the change do we want to be on, and what positive imprint do each of us want to make to unite us all as a collective.

Fern Mallis

I am proud to say I have added Fashion Lives: Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis to my collection of books. Collect your copy you won’t be disappointed.

Enjoy virtual New York Fashion Week , NYC is still alive and kicking.

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