Rihanna, Aurora James and Cardi B acknowledged on the Star-Studded Footwear Information Achievement Awards

Rihanna, left; Aurora James; Cardi B.

This year may not have been one of our most successful, but there are still successes to celebrate. especially the handful of designers who harnessed the energy and activism of the moment to force major structural changes in the fashion industry and beyond.

As The Glow Up previously reported, Aurora James, founder of the ethical luxury shoe and accessory brand Brother Vellies, is one such designer. In June, she launched the 15 percent pledge following the murder of George Floyd and rampant lack of true diversity and inclusion, ironically revealed on #BlackoutTuesday. Since then, Sephora, Macy’s, American Vogue, InStyle, Rent the Runway, West Elm, and others have committed to devoting at least 15 percent of their content and product offerings to black developers, designers, and brands.

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“[This year has] was tough, but I think I used that time to reflect on myself, ”James said during a discussion to Kerby Jean-Raymond, former classmate of Pyer-Moss, a fashion colleague and current associate of Brother Vellies Filmed For the 2021 Footwear News Achievement Awards (FNAA) on Tuesday, where James was named Person of the Year (h / t Women’s Wear Daily). “[I’ve been thinking about]”How would I like to spend my time on this planet and what should people remember me for?” Probably not a handbag.

“I think when George Floyd was murdered I was so over it,” added James, explaining the origin of the 15 percent promise. “As a business owner, I’ve just watched black-owned companies decimated – no funding, no PPP [paycheck protection program] Money, in VC [venture capital] Money. If these retailers really want to support black people, they could actually do so. “

The story goes on

Often referred to as the “Oscars of the Shoe Industry,” the 34th annual awards ceremony, held in the Footwear News’ 75th anniversary year, was full of black excellence. As reported by WWD, Cardi B and Rihanna were also honored during this year’s virtual ceremony, which included appearances by John Legend, Jaden Smith, Jason Momoa, Virgil Abloh, Christian Louboutin and André Leon Talley.

Said Legend, who opened the celebrations from his piano at home in Los Angeles:

Amid a devastating pandemic, cascading economic hardships and a renewed movement for racial justice, 2020 challenged us all to focus on the things that matter. to re-imagine what work and life could look like. To take a close look at the way we live – not just how we behave personally, but how we allow our fellow human beings to be treated – and to reconsider what we owe each other. This year has been uncertain in many ways, but we end it with renewed hope for a just future and an unwavering commitment to make it happen. It feels strange to celebrate in those moments that remain uncertain, when divisions can feel deep and undetectable, but it is precisely in these moments that we need to celebrate those who do the work. Seasons of hard work need to be leavened with moments of joy and celebration … So no, 2020 wasn’t perfect, but in its weird, twisted way I hope it has shown us how we can go on a new and better path together .

“People’s lives are at risk because they are,” Legend added later in the ceremony (h / t WWD). “As artists and tastemakers, we have the opportunity to create spaces where all people are welcome to join forces with the Black, Brown and LGBTQ leaders who have led this movement for so long.”

Rihanna played in an all-chartreuse ensemble with a furry hat, matching sunglasses and sweater, and shared her Employee of the Year award with shoe designer Amina Muaddi, who created Fenty Maison’s latest shoe collection, and her “Deputy Sheriff.” “Im brand, Jahleel Weaver.

“This is for the culture, this is for the children, for our customers and this is for the community,” said the entertainer-mogul in her acceptance speech.

Cardi B pulled down feathers to receive her Style Influencer of the Year award from the king of red bottoms, Christian Louboutin, who described rapper “Bodak Yellow” and the Reebok employee as “one damn good woman, one of a kind.” She stands and fights for what she believes in. It is a force, it speaks its own language … and is the opposite of politically correct ”(h / t WWD).

Cardi, who was again at the center of controversy last weekend when she publicly considered buying a $ 88,000 bag, said:

“I’m trying to give you a different variety. I could do a birkin with a bathing suit and then I could just do the latest Louis Vuitton, a leather jacket. I like to be raunchy and chic and elegant, ”Cardi said after editing some of her fashion shoots. “I get bored doing just one thing … I’m glad people all like my looks … I wish I could have given you more looks this year, but [singing] BOVID! “she concluded, snapping her famous long tongue at her translucent price.

Other big winners from the FNAA’s biggest night were Versace VP Sneakers & Men’s Footwear Salehe Bembury (who had a racist profile while shopping in Beverly Hills this year), named Designer of the Year. Seasoned footwear designer D’Wayne Edwards (Karl Kani, Pensole) won the Icon Award for Social Impact, presented by two-time NBA All-Star Baron Davis.

The full stream of the 34th Annual Footwear News Achievement Awards can be viewed online.

Originally published December 10, 2020, 9:00 a.m.

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