Why your Black Fashion Influencer Favorites aren’t at the Luxury Fashion Shows

I’ve been in the fashion industry as a blogger for 14 years. I started this blog you’re reading right now in 2010 to document my style and fashion events in New York City. I even ran the first ever Fashion Bloggers Meetup Group in New York for a few years and spent that time connecting bloggers with brands. I also started attending New York Fashion Week around that time and a few short years later did my first Milan Fashion Week as well as Paris Fashion Week. Back then, the only person I’d run into that I knew was Claire of Fashion Bomb Daily. Things have certainly changed over the last decade for the better. I love that there are so much more of US representing at Fashion Weeks and putting our own spin on the knowledge we gain from attending the shows and getting that information out to our audiences. For me, my means of deciphering that is through blog posts, YouTube videos and social media commentary. But in the 14 years I’ve been covering Fashion Month, I have never been invited to a luxury show and neither have most of my peers that are and have been making waves in the fashion space. Milan Fashion Week seems to be a little easier to crack and more accepting of Black folk, perhaps even more so than New York. Luxury fashion brands have not embraced Black fashion influencers and more specifically Black presenting fashion influencers. Now when I say luxury, I’m talking specifically about the MAJOR players when you think of luxury brands that always have fashion shows in their respective cities from New York to Paris. There are a few different reason’s why I think this is the case so let’s delve into a few of my educated guesses and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.


If a brand has in house public relations which most luxury brands do, the chances are they fall into 2 categories: they are relatively young or are super seasoned and been with the brand for years. Now the relatively younger women in PR are inviting the women they follow, the women they watch and the women they want to be. Which usually means women who look like them. I have a wide audience but my audience is made up of mostly Black women and it’s been shown that non people of color most often then not only follow people who look like them, versus people of color who follow, watch and subscribe to any race. This became very apparent to me during the Black Lives Matter Movement when White creators were asking for recommendations of Black creators to follow and some White YouTubers even admitted to not knowing Black people even watched their videos. White women in the PR space don’t know the impact of Black fashion influencers simply because they don’t know or follow many, if any. Then there’s the latter, the seasoned women in PR who invite the same people they always invite, because it requires little work. They invite who’s grandfathered in because it’s always been that way and they have connections from so many seasons of shows. They usually have a No New Friends mentality and that goes for the very large PR companies that are hired by luxury brands as well to handle their fashion shows. It also seems that the few people of color with some power at these PR companies, aren’t shaking the table in favor of more diverse invitees either. Now of course they are going to invite the journalists, the buyers and high spenders of the brand, but I’m speaking specifically to the influencers they invite to the shows.


If you don’t have your ear to the ground in the fashion industry or any industry for that matter, you may not have noticed that Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is over. DEI departments sprang up in all fields from technology to fashion following the murder of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Brands, especially fashion brands, were being called out left and right for their lack of diversity and ultimately shamed into doing better. Many of these brands posted Black Squares on Instagram on #BlackOutTuesday to express solidarity with Black people and as a sign that things were going to change and they did. Things seemed to get better for a while with more diverse advertising, more Black Owned businesses being exposed and put on bigger platforms and more DEI departments to handle diversity issues for brands. When there are no Black PR people, then of course there’s going to be a lack of representation of who is invited. It’s a trickle down effect. Personally speaking, 2020-2022 were my most profitable years as full time content creator and I know some of that was attributed to brands attempting making changes and hiring more creators of color. But as we slowly came out of the pandemic, things changed for the worse. 2023 was quiet and 2024 is silent. In fact, this Black History Month was the quietest Black History Month I’ve ever experienced, in regards to work in the content creator space and even with brands activating to promote the month. Even prior to 2020 it was never this quiet. In 2023 Google and Meta make cuts to their DEI departments. Apple, Gucci, Uber, Zoom, Pinterest have all had several Diversity Officers who have quit after just a year or so since 2020. I’ve even heard of companies who implemented Juneteenth as a holiday only to turn around and asks employees to observe the holiday by using a vacation day. Perhaps the luxury fashion industry no longer feels the need to be diverse or inclusionary. The shame has worn off and fashion is back to exclusivity as usual.


Brand image is also at play when it comes to who is invited and who is not. Luxury fashion brands have a very specific look and most times Black presenting women aren’t it unless they are a famous actresses or singers. Now I can specifically speak for myself when I say that I’ve been paid by tons of fashion brands and some of them show at fashion weeks. And even though I have a relationship with that brand and have been paid by that brand, I’ve never been invited to a show. Now, I’m not sure what diversity quota brands have to meet when working with Black contractors and/or Black businesses but I know there is a quota because I’ve had to fill out minority business paperwork forms for a few brands over the years. And they no doubt have to claim what percentage of business was done with a minority business. This leads me to believe that I’m simply filling a quota and I’m to be seen (by my audience for the purpose of sales) but that I don’t actually represent what that brand sees as their customer or someone who is fit to represent them in public. Let’s face it, in fashion, especially luxury fashion, the standard of beauty hasn’t changed much. Some brands are just afraid they don’t know what they will get with Black creatives. We change our hair often, we change our style often and we tend to have a lot more fun with fashion. That can be scary to a luxury brand so they stick with what they know and they don’t deviate from that.


Then there are the tokens, there are always tokens darling. The Black fashion creators who are invited and are the only ones ever invited. I feel that most luxury fashion brands, specifically at Paris Fashion Week, have their chosen sprinkle of Black fashion influencers who have somehow made it into the fold. They may even be dressed by the brand and then the brand has met their diversity quota and can pat themselves on the back for not looking racist. But these tokens aren’t bringing their friends and they definitely aren’t trying to open up the doors for anyone else. Most of them, are just happy to be there, and I get that. But me… well I’m bringing all my homegirls too and that’s probably why it will only ever be those chosen few. I could never be a token. It doesn’t ever feel good to be the only Black person somewhere. But some people prefer it. There’s always that perception that there can only be one and the more Black women play into that, the more these luxury fashion brands don’t have to change or make room for anyone else. I wrote about being the Token Black Girl years ago and that essay still rings true.


It used to be my goal to attend a major luxury fashion show and be dressed by the brand and at least have a seat. 5 years ago, I really thought it was possible that I could achieve that goal. I no longer believe that it’s possible. I started creating content around the same time as some of my white or white presenting fashion influencers and I’ve seen just how quickly things were handed to them. It’s hard to avoid seeing it and it’s difficult not to compare. It’s a hard pill to swallow to think that they just don’t want me there, even though I’ve worked twice as hard, sold twice as much, have as much influence, actually use the information I acquire to highlight the industry and more than that, I deserve to be there. I’ve seen with my own eyes some of the illest Black fashion influencers worldwide, who’s numbers, engagement, incredible work and impact speak for them even when they aren’t in the room, not be able to achieve this goal. Some have given up and have shifted their priorities and goals, myself included. I still enjoy luxury things, but it’s no longer a goal of mine to be dressed and to sit front row at a show of a luxury brand who refuses to see me. My advice for any Black fashion creatives is to enjoy luxury, whatever that means to you but to continue pouring into your own community of fashion brands and designers and to create your own table, brand or business. I remember once, getting a comment from a non person of color, asking why I always mention if a brand is Black Owned in my YouTube videos and my answer was: If we don’t highlight us…who will? That’s why I’m so glad things like Harlem’s Fashion Row exist that do the hard work of finding funding for up and coming Black talent. Black in Fashion Council and The Folklore also do an incredible job of bringing Black designers to New York and Paris Fashion Week. In hindsight, I realized I created a goal that allowed someone else to have a say over if I could achieve it or not. I would have had to wait for someone at these luxury brands to say I belonged. I’m older and wiser and know better than that now. I’m the only person that can stand in the way of achieving any goal I set for myself from now on.








  1. Angela Heller (AHairAngel)
    March 11, 2024 / 5:45 pm

    These are definitely true harsh realities that you have written about. They are also applicable to other and almost all areas of life. As a result, I have and am exerting more effort to recirculate my dollars in our community and to support more of our creators.

    I have and continue to love your content. From one southern girl to another, I see you and support you.

    • Iris Johnson-Young
      March 12, 2024 / 10:03 pm

      OMG, this subject was written with eloquently and with such insight! Thank you for taking back your power. I appreciate you, the work that you put into your craft, the transparency, and the value you add to the community.

  2. Debe
    March 11, 2024 / 5:51 pm

    Well said…I have been saying for years that black people need to stop pouring into and buying from brands that don’t even want them wearing there products. Black people tend to think they’ve arrived if laced in the luxury designer brands. Think about it, why are the majority of the fashion houses that people continue to swoon over are all non black, yet there are so many black designers worthy of the same accolades. White fashion designers are stealing the concepts created by black designers and sadly that’s the only time a black design is considered “cool”. My advice would be to shop black only, start putting black designers in the limelight and making there names industry staples that black people will no longer be shut out of the shows or brand opportunities. I appreciate you highlighting the black designers and hope you continue to only promote the non black designers that truly stand for black people and not just tolerate us.

  3. Sonya Chandler (SonyaSaidSo)
    March 12, 2024 / 12:30 am

    Bravo Monroe!! Thank you for being one of the most in touch influencers out there not afraid to speak up! Unfortunately, this problem still exists in our workplace no matter the occupation. Our ancestors fought for us to be treated equal and to have the right to work in any field that we choose. I have often been the only 1 at my job but I made sure I was the best. No one wants to be the Token. I look at the rapid exorbitant increase in some of the Luxury pieces and I wonder, is it because more people of color are buying, and they assume we will still buy it no matter what? I understand price increase, but I feel it is just disrespectful at this point. Black people have always been fashionable, designer or not, that is where designers get their inspiration from. One thing I do know is that you will not win if you aren’t in the game, so we have to find the balance of indulging in luxury while exposing our minority designers to a larger audience. Keep up the Good Work!!

  4. Joelle Kapompole
    March 12, 2024 / 4:02 am

    You are really honest and I love that from you. Now, my hope is to see you shine more and more because We don’t need them and we will continue to prosper.

  5. Leslie
    March 12, 2024 / 6:21 pm

    Thank you for sharing your clear and concise insights. To your point about DEI, any efforts to support or expand this work in most industries has vanished. I am in health care and it has also gone back to business as usual. Let’s continue to blame those who experience the most social, spiritual and economical challenges. After all, can’t those people work a little harder! Bravo to you. You are such an inspiration to your loyal audience of amazing Black women!

  6. Maria
    March 12, 2024 / 6:37 pm

    Was it last year, or the year before they had a sprinkling of plus sized models…I may have missed it, but I didn’t notice see the same effort of inclusion this year, I did see someone who looked like an older model in one of your videos, but yeh…DEI is dead.

    Thanks for pushing the agenda on Black owned businesses.

    And kudos to you for creating your own success, not measured by anyone else.

  7. Merab
    March 12, 2024 / 7:59 pm

    Reading your “resolution” made me , as I have witness you Monroe, through your content helping others. Giving advice since you have been there; yet some are being recognized without putting in the work with the same advice that you provided! Sigh smh.
    Trust me, the real ones see & are inspired by your work ethic. Love & respect Queen.
    You selected the right photos for this blog post.
    Stunning as always✨
    The Sundress selection lit!

  8. Cynthia B
    March 12, 2024 / 9:07 pm

    I agree with everything you said about the luxury fashion brands. They’re only interested in sticking with the status quo and not inviting new or more POC into their orbit. As much as I love fashion, I’m careful who I spend my money with and hope they appreciate my business. I usually try to shop with local small businesses or shops that are owned by POC to try to keep dollars in our community.

  9. Sunflower Butterfly
    March 13, 2024 / 12:29 am

    Your blog is nothing less than extremely compelling, highlighting a myriad of ingrained beliefs by the privileged, designed to create exclusivity, which has existed historically, how ironic the hypocrisy of it all, we are the culture, from which everything’s been stoled, appropriated, and owed.
    Yes Monroe, beautiful Queen, this is your journey, full of passion, purpose, grace, humility, light, faith, joy, and gratitude, being proud of the woman you are, with unlimited potentials, those realized, and yet to be, we see you, we hear you, we appreciate you.
    One cannot say enough about how you showcase black designers, shoutout other content creators, congratulate not compete, and relentlessly celebrate their success, you’re an inspiration, so please continue to do you, standing tall on the shoulders of the ancestors, and go where you’re celebrated, with the rhythm of the drums, I know you hear it goddess. ❤️

  10. March 13, 2024 / 3:37 am

    Hey Monroe 🙂
    I’m new to your blog. I found you from a blog post called “21 Trendiest Fashion Blogs to Follow”. I was so excited to see that you were Black! I have been trying to figure out if I want to start a fashion blog for weeks, so there I was, scouring the internet for fashion blogging courses (I couldn’t find any from this decade, surprisingly). Eventually, the internet led me here. I usually skim through people’s writing, but you really are talented. I read every single word. Partly because you are a great writer, but also because you look like me. I felt everything you had to say and I’m not even in the luxury scene. But I know what it’s like to be overlooked and undervalued because you don’t look like the “standard”. I really appreciate you sharing your unfiltered and authentic thoughts in this post. It really inspired me to want to do the same for my little space on the internet. I look forward to reading more about what you have to say and seeing your fashion looks on IG. 🙂

  11. Mae Boose
    March 13, 2024 / 11:33 am

    Monroe, continue doing what you’re doing, shining the spotlight on inequities in the industry. You are a business, so continue making your coins, support the non melenated businesses that support you and continue to always educate us and hightlight the Black-owned businesses because we don’t always know who they are. I love your content and, YES, you could easily be a model.

  12. mm
    March 13, 2024 / 12:19 pm

    What a word! I appreciate you Monroe. Such an inspiration.

    Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

  13. Melissa
    March 21, 2024 / 9:48 pm

    Well said. I’ve always felt the same way as you about tokenism – why anyone would want to play that role in any space. I love us, Black People and I can, we can enjoy luxury in any way or shape or construct that we choose.

  14. Life in Movies
    March 23, 2024 / 9:04 pm

    This is a fantastic piece!
    I don’t know if it’s the stubborn Virgo in me, but these “luxury” brands can NEVER get my money, time, space in my closet, or energy. That’s why I love thrifting and making my own clothes. These brands can kick rocks with open toe shoes. Keep doing the damn thing Monroe. I’m loving this evolution of you.

  15. Vicki
    March 26, 2024 / 11:22 am

    Eloquently said and your style is Impeccable! I am a 62-year-old lover of Fashion and I enjoy watching you on YouTube and Instagram. I knew you were special when you were always helping others and that is why you will continuously be Blessed! Keep up the Great work, Soror…

  16. Yvette
    March 26, 2024 / 9:50 pm

    Great read. Not surprising but at the same time very insightful.

  17. Alexandria
    April 16, 2024 / 1:55 pm

    Beautifully said! We see you and support you. Thank you for this necessary piece!

  18. Arlene Joseph
    April 16, 2024 / 7:01 pm

    Oh Monroe. I hope you’re going to turn this into a book and keep writing short stories. You are exceptionally talented.

  19. Gee
    April 17, 2024 / 10:06 am

    This was well said and each point was made so eloquently. We see you, I see you and have alsays felt safe with your recommendations. You are truly a breathe of fresh air and you have never stumbled from that.

  20. May 25, 2024 / 1:53 am

    Your journey in the fashion industry is truly inspiring! It’s disheartening to hear about the lack of inclusion from major luxury brands, but your continued presence and insights make a significant impact. Keep shining and advocating for change!

  21. May 25, 2024 / 1:57 am

    Your journey in the fashion industry is truly inspiring! It’s disheartening to hear about the lack of inclusivity in luxury fashion, but your perseverance and success despite these barriers are commendable. Thank you for shedding light on this important issue and for your valuable insights. Keep pushing boundaries!

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