Written by Nikia Webster
Definitions of the word Black include:
Of the very darkest color owing to the absence of or complete absorption of light; the opposite of white.
Deeply stained with dirt.
(of a period of time or situation) characterized by tragic or disastrous events; causing despair or pessimism.
Did you know fewer than 4% of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), one of fashion’s most notable trade organization, are Black? The ongoing lack of diversity within the fashion industry is ever-present still. Fortunately, designers like Keyondra and Kim Lockett, founders of Jolie Noire Apparel, which translates to “Pretty Black” in French, are working to shift the narratives within the industry.
We are trained to view dark colors (specifically black) as harmful and light colors as useful. In an effort to level the playing field Jolie Noire Apparel was launched in 2018, inspired by the duo’s desire to “change the meaning, emotions, and values associated with black. Color is something that doesn’t come pre-labeled, we label it…At Jolie Noire, we choose to believe that black, like other colors, is beautiful!” (Jolie Noire via Stylish Curves)
During an interview with The Expect Effect Podcast, Kim gave further insight into their name selection process, “When we were thinking of a name, we wanted it to mean something. We’re from Louisiana, and it’s kind of like a hodgepodge of things that represent us as Black women...very seldom do you find people rooting for us, going to bat for us, even with ourselves...We have to build our communities and be that support for each other so we can root each other on.”
Before Jolie Noire, the Lockette sisters ventured into eyewear but found fashion created a broader avenue to help Black women recognize their beauty through a unique lens. Not to be confused with a war waged against other races, Jolie Noire represents a movement of empowerment among Black women. To learn more, visit Jolie Noire online or @joliexnoireapparel on Instagram or Facebook.