The EBONY Fashion Fair for fifty years has been an iconic slice of African-American culture. It was responsible for opening the eyes of the fashion industry to the fact that Black people not only like high fashion clothes, we have money to spend on it and Black women look good in them.
In addition, the EBONY Fashion Fair laid the groundwork for African descended people to consider and have careers in the fashion industry in addition to showcasing the work of Black designers.
The show also paved the way for Black people to enter modeling and other professions. A 15 year old Pat Cleveland strutted down the EBONY Fashion Fair runways before she moved up to the runways of Paris and supermodel status. Richard Roundtree was also an alum along with newscaster Sue Simmons and Janet Langhart Cohen.
So it was with shock and sadness that I heard the news that the Fall 2009 edition of the EBONY Fashion Fair will not take place.
"In light of the overall economic challenges that are affecting many, including our potential corporate sponsors, we have arrived at a most difficult decision to cancel Ebony Fashion Fair's fall 2009 season," Johnson Publishing Co. Chief Executive Officer Linda Johnson Rice said in a statement. "In the coming months, we will develop a new business model to ensure that the show is a mutually beneficial endeavor."
The EBONY Fashion Fair in addition to being a much anticipated event is one that also acts a a primary fund raising activity for sororities, churches and other civil groups. It is estimated that over the life of the show, it has raised an estimated $55 million in support of local charities.
It's also acted as a rite of passage activity for many African descended mothers and daughters, and a fun family night out activity as well.
Here's hoping that whatever fiscal problems prevented Johnson Publishing Company from putting on this fall's show are quickly rectified.
We need the EBONY Fashion Fair to bounce back, bigger, better and badder than ever.