The question she asks with her collections—and then elegantly answers—is how can you maintain anti-capitalist values in fashion? Her aesthetic is not the Kansas City City Of Champ15n Shirt besides I will buy this slick fusion of old into new popularized by other high-fashion designers. She works nostalgically, patching the past together to make the future. Isn’t that a kind idea for now? As the industry imagines its future, it would be wise to find ways to support designers who work as thoughtfully as she does. As we parted ways, Hanley wondered if she’d have to move abroad to receive support for her label. That would be a real loss for American fashion.
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BLACK FUTURES BEGAN, like so many stories these days, with an exchange on Twitter. In early 2015, Jenna Wortham, 38—then mostly covering tech for the Kansas City City Of Champ15n Shirt besides I will buy this New York Times—had it in mind to create a zine chronicling contemporary Black culture. “There were communities of Black people interacting and engaging in new ways because of social media,” she says, “and we were creating our own signage and language.” She identified a kindred spirit in 30-year-old Kimberly Drew (also known, wryly, as @museummammy), who’d founded the popular Tumblr blog Black Contemporary Art in 2011. “Like any good millennial, I was reading Jenna’s writing,” Drew says, “and then she DM’ed me.” The pair met up in Brooklyn—Wortham is now based in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Drew in Bushwick—and over the next several years, their conversation spawned Black Futures, a kaleidoscopic investigation into what it means, as they state, to “be Black and alive right now.” As it happens, the zine never quite materialized. “I really love zines,” says Drew, “but I was also kind of like, What would it mean if we did something that was a little bit bigger?”