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About the Database

There is a whole pantheon of trailblazers who came before us and did amazing things.

Those Black and multiracial models, muses, designers, photographers, creatives and entrepreneurs from the 1960s through 90s were trailblazers.

This project started as a community discussion on Facebook in 2021, one quickly enriched by an outpouring of suggestions, memories, nostalgia, and love from prior colleagues in the industry. As so this database was born: to preserve, document, and celebrate the contributions of these fashion pioneers. We have collected (and will continue to collect) biographical profiles, photographs, media clips, and relevant archival materials.

Canada’s Black communities are often forgotten and overlooked by the mainstream, but here we wish to recognize those individuals and groups who silently struggled within systemic racism. The Black Fashion Canada Database is a platform for us to tell our own truths, to amplify the presence of lesser-known members of the Black fashion and beauty industry. Most of the profiles here are professionals who preceded — in fact, paved the way for — the digital age. In a world where an internet search has become the primary method of retrieving the past, their work threatens to be lost. Their contributions deserve to be credited for the digital record.

I am well aware that the existing award system isn’t going to acknowledge these pioneers. So if we don’t do it here, who will? Because a truthful history matters. And so documentation matters.

—Charmaine Gooden

Charmaine Gooden

Professor & Founder of BFC

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