As someone who’s prominent on social media, do you feel it’s necessary to use your platform to speak up? Do you find yourself sometimes having to educate your followers on your background? If so, how does that feel?
To me, an “influencer” is a useless title unless you are influencing culture and/or positive change. Being an influencer, to me, means more than influencing people to buy things. I don’t want to have a platform if I’m not going to use it. It would be useless to me to have this audience and not try to bring awareness to certain issues or advancing social change.
Indigenous communities are the most marginalized in the world. We are the most underrepresented in media and politics, and it’s sometimes difficult to have our voices heard. What better way to amplify indigenous voices and stories than to use my platform? We are in a golden age of storytelling. When I was younger, the only way to have your voice heard is if you were on TV or in a magazine. Now, we don’t have all these barriers to entry. The gatekeepers of storytelling aren’t studio executives anymore. We can literally tell our own stories with the click of a button (or the tap of a screen). This is a really exciting moment. And I plan to take full advantage of it.
What obligations, if at all, do you feel fashion creators have to use their platforms to support and uplift marginalized communities?
I do think that fashion creators or anyone with a platform has a responsibility to support and uplift marginalized communities. Are you hiring people from marginalized communities? Are you supporting their work? Are you promoting their work? Take a look around you. Look at the people you follow on social media. Do they look exactly like you? Do they think like you? Come from the same background? In the age of social media, I don’t think there’s really an excuse to stay ignorant to cultures or people that are different from you. Expand. Diversify.
With that being said, I don’t think that fashion creators should use their platforms in this way just because they feel like they have to, or they think it’ll look good for their brand. It should always come from a place of authenticity. In this case, I don’t think creators should use their platforms in this way. Some people truly do not care about social issues. I do think that apathy comes from a place of privilege, but it’s still better to allow them to not care than to have an industry full of phonies looking to improve their brand or make more money. This hurts marginalized creators even more.