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Fashion Historian Shelby Ivey Christie On The State Of Black Style

Black fashion literature is sacred. The number of books that provide insights into Black style is minimal compared to the glorification of European designers. Yet, despite the lack of documentation that exists, there are writers, historians, and social media pages that preserve our vital influence. In 2020, there is a group of digital historians on social media that have a passion for archival facts. From runway shows in the 90s to Black fashion facts, they’re providing, preserving and showcasing our history. Leading the pack is Shelby Ivey Christie.

Sitting at over 26,000 followers on Twitter and 15,000 on Instagram, the historian has created a community of style fanatics, who love fashion artifacts. Her viral moments usually include threads of information such as Arthur McGee being the first Black designer to have a studio on 7th Avenue or noting Josephine Baker‘s film career. The content is endless.

“History has always been something I’m passionate about. My bachelor’s degree is in race, class, and culture, which falls under the department of history, so I am a historian. It’s something that I study–my love of fashion and how that intersects with my love of history,” Christie tells ESSENCE.

Along with Christie’s large social media presence, her work behind the scenes is equally as wondrous. Currently an M.A. candidate at New York University for costume studies, she has also had the opportunity to work for companies such as In Style, Vogue, and W magazine.

Most recently, Christie previewed a TIDAL show called Shades Of Fashion, where she narrated a series and spoke with Black fashion icons, including Dapper Dan and Guy Wood. While the show is “up in the air,” it gathered raved reviews on social media from followers hoping to see it come to fruition.


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