Toni Grant is an inspiring fashion designer who is the owner of her brand named V’Che Label. Her love for designing started in her early childhood. At that time, she would design clothes for her dolls and style them to look glamorous and sexy. Later, in August 2019, Toni started her brand based in Dallas, Texas. Toni herself is a bossy lady who is confident and optimistic. She has injected her personality into her brand and makes clothes with every kind of woman in her mind. Through her brand, she wants to make a woman feel powerful and fearless as she herself is.
V’che offers diverse clothing made out of different kinds of silk cloth and sequence, giving the dresses a luxurious look. Toni has struggled and worked hard to bring her brand to the front of the world of fashion. She started her business during the world pandemic when many firms were shutting down. She strived hard and believed in herself, she knew she could do it and did it. She wants to convey this message to all the other women through her brand. She wants them to adopt the ‘we are the best’ mindset and achieve whatever they wish for in life.
New York fashion week is a top-rated platform where international fashion collections are shown to the buyers, the press, and the general public. However, many black women, including Toni Grant, have been finding it hard to be ‘feel seen’ even when they have dared to exhibit their brands in the most ingenious ways. According to Kevin Parker, black designers are trying to discover new and different options to showcase their brands, creativity, and fashion outside the New York Fashion Week lineup. That is because, while finally, after the whole global pandemic situation, all the fashion enthusiasts were geared up for the opportunity to reflect on the week-long extravaganza that highlights the upcoming trends in style, many couldn’t help but notice that many black designers were absent. The Co-founder of Philly Fashion week, Kevin Parker, revealed that there had been significant issues within the fashion industry regarding diversity, inclusion, and accessibility towards the black designer for years. Most black designers don’t feel like they are being ‘seen,’ that one of the factors that many black designers are opting out of the bi-annual tradition.
Another concern stems from the lack of funding. It is very tough for small businesses to show up at the New York Fashion Week because it is very expensive. They cannot stop wondering if it is worth the risk, will they be able to make enough sales to get a return on their investment along with any profit. However, many brands have stepped forward to try and conceal the gap between brands and designers. For example, Harlem’s Fashion Row made a black woman their chief strategy and revenue officer. They also posted a picture of her with the founder and CEO of Harlem’s Fashion Row on Instagram. A caption said that these ladies are working hard to ensure designers of color get funding and placement in the major retailers. Moreover, since 2020, CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) has established a black advisory board to eliminate racism in the industry. They also created ‘Impact,’ an initiative to identify, connect, support, and nurture black and brown creative in the fashion industry.
The journey of giving voices to the black doesn’t end here, though. Still, a lot of work needs to be done so black creative and professionals can get the recognition and platform in the fashion industry that they deserve and have worked hard for over the years. Philly Fashion Week has officially joined CFDA. The co-founder says, “PFW uses all of our resources to provide opportunity and visibility for our designers. Besides the shows, we host our Business of Fashion Workshops to allow designers to have their collections critiqued with a Q&A session with industry leaders such as Fern Mallis, the award-winning creator of New York Fashion Week.” (“Black Designers Are Discovering New Alternatives Outside Of New York Fashion Week — Here’s Why,” 2022)
Toni Grants finds the program necessary but makes a point to reveal that designers need more than just applause. She says that for emerging designers, it is great to receive a retail platform as it can help them sell and set foot in the industry. For emerging designers, it is challenging to compete with other designers and build a name as it is for any small or startup business in any field of work. She also adds that programs that can provide stylist pulls and covers mean the world to their creativity. Receiving applause and feedback is nice and helpful for every brand, but new emerging brands and designers require more than just that. They need support from the audience, programs, and the fashion industry itself.
Establishing a fashion career can be quite difficult, especially for a woman like Toni Grant, who want to empower woman through her clothes. According to her, clothes have their language, and they speak for themselves. They express emotions and feeling that words cannot. Toni has used social media a lot which she sees as a blessing because it is a free platform that you can use in your own ways. Many people found out about her through social media, and she gained good recognition and success all through social media, as other platforms were shut during the pandemic. Social media is how the designers have presented their creative work outside the traditional lineup of New York Fashion Week. This is a platform where racism does not exist and where people can feel ‘seen.’ Toni has designed dresses for many popular celebrities such Rapper Lizzo who wore her dress in her new Amazon series, Sherri Shephard, a daytime TV host, actress Vivica A. Fox, a businesswoman named Claudia Jordan and a reality star Malaysia Pargo. The journey for Toni has just started, and it’s a long way to go.