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The BoF Podcast: Bethann Hardison, Kerby Jean-Raymond, LaQuan Smith and Patrick Robinson: ‘We’ve Had Diversity, but Then It Disappeared’

The creatives spoke about the barriers that black designers face and how a new generation is finding success outside the fashion system.
(L-R) Bethann Hardison, Patrick Robinson, LaQuan Smith, Kerby Jean-Raymond | Source: Getty Images for The Business of Fashion
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OXFORDSHIRE, United Kingdom — Model, advocate and agency founder Bethann Hardison joined designers Patrick Robinson, founder of eco-friendly line Paskho and former executive vice president of design at Gap; LaQuan Smith, who designs for his namesake brand; and Kerby Jean-Raymond, the founder and creative director of Pyer Moss on stage at VOICES 2018, BoF’s annual gathering for big thinkers, to discuss the barriers that black designers face and how they’ve found success outside the fashion system.

“The white establishment is now starting to understand that there is this whole other thing that existed and thrived without them,” said Jean-Raymond, who recently won the 2018 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.

Robinson described being aware of companies that used him to demonstrate diversity when there were no people of colour in the executive suite. For the entrepreneur, it’s reductive. “Don’t label me as a black designer,” he said. “I’m black, but I’m also a designer.”

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