Practice What You Preach! – How Vice President Kamala Harris, First Lady Jill Biden and Former First Lady Michelle Obama Showcased Diverse Designers

Sara is a KCL Law student from Croatia who is passionate about the creative arts such as writing, drawing, painting & music. She loves fashion and foreign languages, and would therefore like to work for a magazine one day. Besides this, she loves to drink coffee with her friends at all times, even if it’s 3AM.

[Featured Image: From left to right, Former First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Kamala Harris and First Lady Jill Biden at the 2021 Presidential Inauguration. Source.]

Fashion was at the forefront when looking back at Joe Biden’s inauguration and the memorial service held to honor the nearly 400,000 American victims of the coronavirus pandemic at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

First Lady Jill Biden wore a purple wrap coat by Jonathan Cohen to the memorial service while Vice-President Kamala Harris opted for a camel coat by Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss. At the inauguration Jill Biden showcased a stunning turquoise outfit designed by Alexandra O’Neill of Markarian. Meanwhile, Kamala Harris chose a purple dress and coat by Christopher John Rogers. Besides Jill Biden and Kamala Harris, who were unarguably the stars of the inauguration, there was a third star. Former First Lady Michelle Obama turned heads when she arrived at the inauguration in a purple-hued three piece set.

While fashion might be your passion, the focus of this article are not the outfits, however stunning, but rather the faces behind them. After Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests many people took a vow to do better. The question: is will they really? 

When you truly stand for a cause, your actions speak for themselves even after the main events that made the cause relevant aren’t in the immediate spotlight. Months after the BLM protests, the three women who were going to be in the spotlight chose to use their platforms to promote diversity in regards to fashion. 

Jonathan Cohen is a new American designer championing sustainability and responsible design. With parents from Mexico and a San Diegan upbringing, he was exposed to different cultures from the beginning of his life, thus giving him a diverse perspective on fashion. Just like Cohen,  Kerby Jean-Raymond uses his brand for a larger purpose by addressing the erasure of African American narratives in popular culture through a series of collections called “American, Also”. Alexandra O’Neill is the designer of Markarian who uses her experiences and love for the style of her grandmother Gigi who taught her to sew as inspiration. Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson are black designers with incredible visions. Rogers is a designer who is determined to be heard and whose designs have been endorsed by the likes of Cardi B and Rihanna. Hudson is well-known as one of Michelle Obama’s favourite designers whose many designs she also sported on her ‘Becoming’ book tour.

As visible from the list of designers, it is a diverse crowd encompassing three black designers, a female designer and a designer whose parents were immigrants. While this may appear irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t, since as author Ronda Racha Penrice noted: “When it comes to inauguration events, black designers have been almost exclusively absent”. The fashion choices of these three incredible women point to a brighter future in fashion, but hopefully also in all other industries and areas of life for members of all communities.


Sources:

1.https://www.vogue.com/article/covid-memorial-kamala-harris-jill-biden-outfits-augur-change

2.https://www.townandcountrymag.com/style/fashion-trends/a35321702/jill-biden-inauguration-look-markarian-behind-the-scenes/

3.https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2021/jan/23/kamala-harris-inauguration-fashion-coat-dress-designers

4.https://www.indiatoday.in/lifestyle/fashion/story/michelle-obama-s-power-look-for-biden-s-inauguration-was-by-designer-sergio-hudson-1761194-2021-01-21

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