André Leon Talley On Racism in Fashion: ‘I live in the world of whiteness and success’
At the tender age of 65, very few African American’s that have achieved the fashion accomplishments of André Leon Talley. Despite the fact that the Zappos Couture artistic director has made great strides in the industry, he does believe that there are many barriers that he should have broken. In an interview with the Huffington Post the North Carolina-bred fashion pundit opens up about race in the industry, along with what Anna Wintour taught him about business. Read a few excerpts.
On what Anna Wintour taught him about running a business:
Anna Wintour is a marvelous woman. She just knew who she was and where she was going early on in her career. And she is more than optics, she is more than a glamorous facade. The first lunch that we had, which was a working lunch, we left the office at 12:45, we sat down at 1 o’clock and at 1:13 when I was just about to bite into my entree she said, ‘Oh, that’s it. Let’s go back to the office. We have discussed everything.’ She’s quick at the draw and she knows firmly what she wants — she doesn’t need to mull over it.
It was the shortest lunch I’ve ever had in my life. And that’s the way she works. She’s a great visionary in a way because she is a businesswoman but she just knows how to put things together and they become something wonderful for the world.
On the lack of diversity in the fashion industry:
How many African-American or any diverse ethnic individuals do you have at the heads of any of the high niche magazines or high niche design brands? You can count them on one finger. How many people are there that have broken the glass ceiling? There are very, very few. And you know the world has really not changed and you have to be acutely aware of the world around you. One of the reasons that I think the world has not changed, being a black man, is that people try to look at me without color, but color is always there. The whole Ferguson situation was a throwback to me of the late fifties and growing up in