The only time race comes up when speaking of fashion is usually to discuss the lack of models of color on the runway or a controversial spread targeting a particular culture. However, the New York-based clothing line Brooklyn Industries will intentionally be incorporating commentary on racism in their upcoming summer 2012 collection. Spike Lee's 1991 milestone film "Jungle Fever," as well as "School Daze," and "Do The Right Thing" will serve as the reference points and visual inspiration for what is sure to be a controversial, yet dynamic collection. Brooklyn Industries Creative Director Vahap Avsar felt compelled to focus on this loaded topic from his own experiences of "racism and prejudice" as an immigrant in a country that considers its self a "melting pot." The line's namesake neighborhood of Brooklyn will also be explored in terms of race relations in the collection, according to the Brooklyn Industries website: "While [Avsar] experienced many refreshing moments of racial accord, he also saw neighborhoods still fundamentally segregated, deep-rooted anger and aggression among many of Brooklyn’s inhabitants, and racial inequality and prejudice that were still occurring in a place that prided itself on fostering diversity and acceptance."
This frank inclusion of such a significant and loaded subject matter into a line's collection is a bold move rarely taken on by those in the industry. Yet, Brooklyn Industries asserts that the squeeze will be worth the juice, seeing as how the need for discussions on racism has become more crucial with each decade that passes. As stated by the brand:
"Our objective is not to tell the community how and what to think regarding race but as a brand that is deeply invested in the local community, we felt it imperative to continue the conversation on what many deem as a historical issue, one that no longer exists because of the progress that has been made since the days of slavery, internment camps and civil rights. While we do not discount the many accomplishments of those who have worked tirelessly to create equal opportunity, we do want to remind our community that diligence is needed and a desire to strive for progress is essential in creating a productive and truly blossoming community."