Folake Huntoon of fashion blog Style Pantry talked to us about her thoughts on racism in fashion. A sweet woman with amazing hair who can wear kaftans and high waisted pants like no other, it’s no wonder that Folake is also in the running for Chictopia’s Influential Blogger of the Year Award. As one of the most prominent black bloggers in the Chictopia community, we thought it’d be great to share some of Folake’s feedback and concerns about race with Chictopia’s readers. Read on to see what Folake has to say about racism in fashion.
AMETHYST: Could you give us a short bio about yourself?
FOLAKE: My name is Folake Huntoon. I was born in Bronx, NY, and I’m Nigerian. I’m a wife and mother of three. I have worked in the fashion industry for 12 years and own a bohemian clothing line called WeWe Clothing. I am the owner and editor of online magazine Style Pantry.
AMETHYST: What’s the first thing that pops up into your mind when you read or hear about the topic of racism in fashion?
FOLAKE: It saddens me. Fashion is an outlet for many of us to express ourselves creatively. It’s meant to be fun and light hearted. This is when we get to embrace and celebrate our beautiful differences, so to have people of color frowned upon, degraded or condemned because they do not fit the industry’s definition of beauty can be deflating. I see fashion as a melting pot, and as such, all cultures, styles, ethnicities should be respected.
AMETHYST: Do you think fashion is racist?
FOLAKE: It would be nice to see more ethnic/minority faces and beauties in fashion. The Asian, Black, and Latino community is huge and filled with gorgeous people. So, yes, the disparity is a little alarming.
AMETHYST: Fashion is such a broad term, so I’d like to get down to one part of it which I’m sure you understand very well with your own website Style Pantry. Do you think there is racism in fashion blogging?
FOLAKE: Yes, I see racism, but do I think about it and does it affect my daily life? No. I rise above it. I know that hard work pays off, so I stay focused and concentrate on getting the job done. I have to say though, there are a ton of beautiful minority bloggers I have come across in my years online. Their styles are incredible and they have a pure heart to match. I think they deserve to be acknowledged with the same frequency and regularity.
AMETHYST: Who are these bloggers you’re talking about?
AMETHYST: Awesome, thanks for the list—we’ll have to check those out! So, have you experienced racism as a fashion blogger?
FOLAKE: Fashion blogging in general has been a challenging road. It’s almost like high school, where it’s filled with cliques and if you are not up to a certain par, you can’t get into that circle. In that sense, it goes hand in hand with working with brands or getting featured in a magazines. It’s easy to associate rejections from brands with racism, but I like to think that it just wasn’t meant to be and the right opportunity will come along :)
AMETHYST: Are there any fashion muses (for example, super models, industry leaders) who you admire?
FOLAKE: I admire leading women who support other women: Oprah and Diane von Furstenberg are my idols.
AMETHYST: What feedback do you get from your site Style Pantry?
FOLAKE: I have been fortunate and blessed with fantastic and supportive readers. They really do keep Style Pantry going with their daily positive feed backs. It’s crazy because I have developed personal relationships with most of them – They are family :)
AMETHYST: If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
AMETHYST: What do you have planned in the future?
FOLAKE: I have a couple of projects I’m working on right now that I can’t really talk about. Everything I work on involves fashion. The goal is to continue to grow Style Pantry and my career as a Fashion Editor.
AMETHYST: Who are some of your favorite Chictopians?
FOLAKE: There are way too many to mention. All I can say is, I love my Chictopians and will always have a bond with them :)
AMETHYST: If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?
FOLAKE: A kaftan.
AMETHYST: What do you think is the most important trait for being a fashion blogger and an overall human being?
FOLAKE: The most important trait is to be kind. However it is also imperative to interact and connect with your readers and fans.
AMETHYST: Do you have any advice for other minority fashion bloggers who are trying to make a career for themselves in fashion, whether it be blogging or something else?
FOLAKE: As stated before, be kind to everyone. Be professional. Be very consistent with blogging. Be passionate and dedicated to your craft.
Folake is also one of the nominees for the CHICTOPIA Influential Blogger of the Year Award! Vote here!
by Amethyst Wang
Image via Style Pantry