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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
Praise for BFC

On social media:

Congratulations! And thanks for taking on the work of highlighting those that helped build Canada's fashion industry 👏🏽👏🏾👏🏿

Stephanie Pollard Scott

Great reads and interesting information!

Kathie Branson

I remember the conversation @blackartndialog ...So wonderful to see the idea come to fruition congratulations @charmainegooden! @blackfashioncanada is a necessary addition to the Canadian cultural landscape.

Karen Carter

Founding Executive Director of Myseum of Toronto and co-founder and Director of Black Artists' Network and Dialogue (BAND)

Thank you for this. Being born in Canada, not once did I know any of what I just read. However funny enough I do remember seeing the his face in catalogs such as the Bay department store. Thank you 🙏🏽

Ms. Ray D Huggins

Executive Board Member at African Diaspora Development Institute

John Girouard

Bravo! Thank you for your continued efforts in bringing forth this spotlight on these many glorious and creative individuals that need continued recognition! -- 2023

John Girouard

Gerard Gentil

Thank you Charmaine, for your wonderful work. I am sure that we all enjoyed having the spotlight directed in our direction for a moment… I did! 😊 -- 2023

Gerard Gentil

Photographer

Charmaine, I really enjoy and love seeing the incredible spotlights you’ve posted over the years. Please continue to “Respect The Architects”!!

Hugh Lawson  • Social Justice Advocate | Keynote Speaker

 

Hugh Lawson • Social Justice Advocate | Keynote Speaker

Codetic

This is extraordinary! Check it out and stay tuned for Volume 3... you might see me.😉
Cheers to everyone involved in creating the Black Fashion Canada Database! Thank you Charmaine Gooden for your vision and expertise, but most of all, your passion and grace! This wouldn't exist if not for you!🥂 Thank you Pat Dillon Moore for the heads up and know that I shared your note with my contacts as well!🥂 Looking forward to Volume 3, Summer '24 and many more!🥰

Marilyn Jones-Sooman

Codetic

Cynthia Reyes

Brava. An excellent collection highlighting an important whole stream of our history. Well done.

Cynthia Reyes

Codetic

So proud of you Charmaine!! Kudos!!❤️

Jeanne Beker

Multi-media journalist, editor, author, keynote speaker, content producer, and TV and podcast host

This is great… keep pushing for all the possibilities and thank you for the work you are doing for all of us! Trailblazing ❤️

Paula Johnson

Roxy & Master T

I teach at Toronto Metropolitan U, and just read a piece about your Black Fashion Database...brilliant, indeed...if these contributions are not documented, for posterity, it's like it didn't happen, except in our minds & memories...but then when we pass on & enter the spirit world, our children, and their children will have no idea about Tom Davis, Lana Ogilvie, etc... I am the choir you are preaching to LOL ...great work!

Dalton Higgins

Toronto Metropolitan University

Brava Charmaine Gooden. Well done! Wonderful the Black Fashion Canada database you are building is now included [in the Fashion and Race Database work of] Kimberly Jenkins — bringing international attention to the work of the brave fashion pioneers and industry here.

Len D. Henry

Delectant Media

Really love this database for the Black Canadian fashion and beauty industry. This community is often overlooked when talking about Black Canadians in Canada but in reality forged a path for Black people in Canada to be seen in media.

Alison Duke

Co-founder, Oya Media Group/ OBAC dgc

Your amazing effort and excellent work is historic and visionary. I will continue to share and support BFC in any way I can. Still waiting for your profile Ms. Trailblazer 😊. All the very best

 

Donna Holgate

Codetic

Charmaine, I wanted to thank you for the profile story about Lloyd and myself.I've shared the story with Lloyd's family, and they were so happy to see him receive his flowers. My family and friends also expressed how well written the article was. Your team did a great job. My grandchildren made some discoveries about their grandmother. Thank you again for including me. 

Irene Wattley, Retail Management Professional

Irene Wattley

Retail Management Professional

Jan C Moir Every post/story you share has me running down memory lane too - and the odd time, I’ll say - ohh I remember that and know that person!!!

Making other people feel your passion is something you should feel proud of sharing as it enlightens others too …
Wishing you a Wonderful Christmas Holiday & Fabulous 2024 !
❤️🎄❤️
Jan C Moir

John Doe

Codetic

 
I am so happy for you, that you initiated this enlightening and so very worthy project - and that it has truly blossomed. All the best and continued success in all that you do, in 2024, Charmaine!

Marla Rotenberg, Communications Specialist

Codetic

Jackie Green Real Estate

Thank you Charmaine for curating this awesome collection of stories. Cheers!

Jackie Green

Codetic

Cynthia Reyes

Brava. An excellent collection highlighting an important whole stream of our history. Well done.

Cynthia Reyes

Codetic

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