African Americans in Fashion: Honoring “African Queen”, Iman

Happy Black History Month!

I’ve see many people say that they don’t particularly agree with the idea of only honoring the greatness of African Americans during ONE month (be in the shortest month) of the year, and that it shouldn’t be separated, and rather integrated into a celebration that never ends. Although I “get” it, I’ve been celebrating Black History month since as far back as I can remember, and with it being put on super blast in elementary and middle schools, it’s become something I’m used to and love to celebrate. As this is true, I was thinking of what I’d like to do to honor us brown beauties this month, and decided to feature African American pioneers in fashion and style. There are so many, and I’m sure I won’t get them all, but they definitely should be recognized for what they’ve done to change our world of fashion.

For my first feature, I’ve decided to honor my “Fairy Fashion Godmother”, Iman, one of the most recognized supermodels in the world.

Iman is a native of Somalia, an African queen whose captivating and ethereal beauty has been a representation for so many of us for years. She was discovered in 1975 by photographer Peter Beard, who invited her to New York City where she rose to the top of fashion in no time…literally. Iman is known as the world’s first black supermodel, and was so coveted in her reign that she served as Yves Saint Laurent’s muse for his “African Queen” collection. A few months ago, I was blessed with the privilege to do a Q&A with Iman and I asked her my most pressing questions about her journey through fashion up to her role now as CEO of Iman Cosmetics. During the interview, Iman spoke about her amazing experience being YSL’s muse and one of her most memorable…
Out of the many shows you have done throughout your career, which was your absolute  favorite? Why?Mr. Yves Saint Laurent when he chose me as his muse for his “African Queen Couture Collection”. He cut the fabrics from bolts on my body… I stood for hours on heels and sheer silk pantyhose and nothing else but it was a once in a lifetime experience and to top it all I did the campaign for it with the legendary photographer David Bailey. Unforgettable!”

As a pioneer of fashion who showed the world a beautiful representation of black beauty, I honor Iman this black history for her contributions to fashion through not only her physical beauty, but through her humble and pleasant spirit. I also got a chance to meet Iman last year, and it’s not normal that you see a woman of Iman’s celebrity walk into a room full of people and greet and thank them with hugs before she can fully get in the door. A beautiful experience indeed and a testament to show that black beauty is not only on the outward appearance, it starts from within.
So, to Iman, on this Black History month we thank, appreciate, and honor you.
Sincerely with style,
Sharontina B.

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