12 Quotes from Black Fashion Icons

Gain inspiration from some of our past and present leaders in style

(Image: File)
(Image: File)

As we continue to celebrate African Americans who shaped our history and breathed life into our future, everyone who’s anyone in the fashion world will gather in New York City for Fashion Week.  So, the timing couldn’t be better to gain some inspiration from some of our past and present leaders in fashion.

[Related: How to Look and Travel Smart in 2015]

Am I bossy? Absolutely. I don’t like to lose, and if I’m told ‘no,’ then I find another way to get my ‘yes.’  —Naomi Campbell

Over the course of the years, I’ve learned [that] fashion is a fascinating business about selling magic. It is done on the backs of our optimism and our insecurity. It is as much psychology as commerce. But I’ve also learned that every day we make split second decisions about people based on their attire and those decisions can have powerful implications — see the story of Trayvon Martin and his hoodie. It’s important for us to understand how fashion works and how we connect to it.” —Robin Givhan’s  Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion journalist

Only when you know who you are will you be able to find the courage to do what drives you—with integrity and grace.”—Bethann Hardison, former model, fashion industry icon and business owner

Luxury is…to be able to take control of one’s life, health, and the pursuit of happiness in a way that is joyful.—Fashion Editor Andre Leon Talley

Let us stop saying ‘white Americans’ and ‘colored Americans,’ let us try once and for all saying… Americans. Let human beings be equal on Earth as in Heaven. Josephine Baker, American-born French dancer, singer, and actress

The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.—Michael Jackson, Musician

“It’s ‘in’ to use me, and maybe some people do it when they don’t really like me.But even if they are prejudiced, they have to be tactful if they want a good picture.” —Naomi Sims, Model

I believe in individuality, that everybody is special, and it’s up to them to find that quality and let it live. —Grace Jones, Singer-Songwriter

You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.— First Lady Michele Obama

Every woman is not a runway model, nor should she beTracy Reese, Fashion Designer

The most important thing is to be happy and true to yourself. ‘I don’t want to look back at this in 30 years from now and say, ‘I did it all to make them happy and I didn’t enjoy.’—Rihanna, Musician.

You always have two choices: your commitment versus your fear. —Sammy Davis, Jr. Entertainer & first African American to cover GQ magazine