A headline in Teen Vogue rang out: “Hanifa’s 3D Digital Fashion Show Just Changed the Game.” CNN, Harper’s Bazaar and Essence also celebrated the virtual presentation of the collection. Then, less than two weeks after that, Forbes excluded Ms Mvuemba from a related story which claimed that a start-up, called Bigthinx, was doing “the first live-streamed 3D fashion show”.
For Ms. Mvuemba and her supporters, it was like a slap in the face. An outcry on social media, where the story was seen as another example of the widespread erasure of black women’s contributions to arts and culture, gave Ms Mvuemba “so much anxiety” that she deleted the Twitter app from his cell phone’s home screen.
“I see how much genuine support I get from people who have followed this journey from the beginning. But the fashion industry doesn’t consider us,” Ms Mvuemba said. “Even now, I feel like an outsider.”
Following the outcry, Forbes edited and then deleted the article. An editor’s note on the original article read, “Update, June 4, 2020: This post has been edited to reflect that Bigthinx was not the first company to host a virtual 3D fashion show. Hanifa from Anifa Mvemba held a 3D fashion show on May 22, 2020, and you can find out more here.
Shortly after, Beyoncé added Hanifa to the singer’s Juneteenth “Black Parade” e-commerce repertoire.
“The 3D is not something I created, but the process and presentation is unique,” Ms Mvuemba said. “Publish the article – especially at a time like this in the heat of Black Lives Matter – was so tone deaf. For black people around the world, it has been a difficult week. You wake up, you feel empowered, you see unity, then you see the news: Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, then you’re angry, upset and want to cry.