By way of history, a single, grass-roots-inspired fashion show supported by Johnson Publishing Company grew into the Ebony Fashion Fair® - “the world’s largest traveling fashion show”. The show fashionably fulfilled the fund-raising needs of thousands of African-American churches, sororities, fraternities and civic organizations for 51 years. Ebony Fashion Fair® broke color barriers by using black models and connecting African-Americans with the world of mainstream high fashion. Fashion Fair® used music on runways, lively vibrant runway models and bright clever commentary to describe the designers’ creations - these innovations changed mainstream fashion shows.
In sold-out venues in each city, Ebony Fashion Fair® shows provided attendees with the latest fashion creations of designers such as Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Oscar de la Renta, Geoffrey Beane, Bill Blass and Karl Lagerfeld among others. Fashion show attendees were also introduced to the creations of talented young black designers such as Stephen Burrows, Scott Barrie, Jon Weston and Willi Smith. Many former Fashion Fair models went on to attain celebrity status, such as actor Richard Roundtree, famous for his lead role in the movie “Shaft” and Pat Cleveland, one of the first African-American women to make a mark as a sought-after mainstream runway model and print model, both FLAIR Alums.
Ebony Fashion Fair® made a strong impact and put a sizable crack in the multi-billion-dollar fashion industry for black designers, models and craftspeople. It also served as a vehicle for raising millions of dollars for black charities and institutions demonstrating the significant cultural and economic impact of the Ebony Fashion Fair®.
It is with great pride that FLAIR (Fashion Legacy Association for Industry Recognition), a 501c(3), non-profit organization comprised of former Ebony Fashion Fair Models, Commentators & Staff, invites fashion and design students in southern California to submit applications no later than the advertised deadline date to participate in the FLAIR Cares Mentoring & Scholarship Program.