Kandis Isom and Sarah Hairston are two twenty-something friends who wanted to unite artists in Indianapolis in one space where they could cultivate their art and dive into further career success. So in 2013 they started Fashion Forward, an event planning and brand management company. The duo regularly hosts events in the Circle City that bring together different types of creatives in the Indy area.
In honor of Black History Month, Isom and Hairston are putting on a fashion show which they’ve entitled Black Girl Majestic. The show was largely inspired by the social media movement Black Girl Magic. Black Girl Magic originally came about in 2013 after a Twitter user named CaShawn Thompson started using the hashtag #BlackGirlMagic to tweet about the accomplishments of black women throughout history.
Here, Hairston and Isom discuss Black Girl Majestic, natural hair and the multi-dimensionality of black women.
Why have this event in 2017?
SH: There’s no better time than the present. You get so tired of all of the killings that have been done or all the negative media coverage of black women. So it would be nice to have just nothing but love in a celebration of all women; but also showing the inclusion of black women.I was reading something recently where Jessica Williams said, “Sometimes I can’t choose to be female first. I have to choose to be black first because that’s what people see.” Black women have so much to offer. And literally, we are the trendsetters. So let us speak up without being afraid of what we have to say.
In the past several years, many black women have been forgoing relaxers, hair straighteners and weaves to wear their natural hair instead. What do you think of the natural hair movement? Do you find that it’s present in the Circle City?
SH: I definitely do. I see it as a way of connecting with each other because women like to talk about their hair. And natural hair is so much more than just going natural. It’s a healthier lifestyle. When people go natural it’s a strong decision to change their lives and pay more attention to the way that they treat their hair and how they present themselves. There’s another level of confidence that women want to achieve when they go natural. I see a lot of women with locs or a fresh big chop.
What is your definition of black girl magic?
KI: It’s multidimensional. We’re not just the black girls who can cook in the kitchen. We’re not just the black woman who has the fabulous weave or sew-in or braids. We’re just so multidimensional and we’re in every facet of life. We can tap something, touch it and it turns to gold.
What are some event highlights you’re looking forward to?
SH: I’m really excited about the last scene. It’s all about queendom and I just think it’ll be really nice to see how strong it comes across. I’m excited about the whole thing to be honest. I’m excited about the connectivity like people meeting new people and having an experience there. Instead of it just being a sole thing I went to, I want it to be like “oh my gosh, I experienced this amazing event and I felt so much love there.” I want it to feel like that. And we have an awesome DJ. I’m excited about the music as well because it’s a big part of our culture.
KI: I’m really excited about the first scene. It’s literally an experience and it’s just going to be so exciting. It’s going to keep you on the edge of your seat wanting more and more and more. Like Sarah said, the whole thing. We’ll also have jewelry making and women can make a piece that is just for them, by them. I’m just so excited for the whole thing from start to finish- as soon as the doors open to when we’re closing up and cleaning. It’s just going to be great from start to finish.
Is there anything else you want to tell people about Black Girl Majestic?
KI & SH: Don’t miss out!
SH: We just want to continue to provide experiences like this for our community because I feel like you can get so caught up in what goes on in your community, all of the negative and it’s nice to have a good experience to see people creating art. Every time I go to an artistic event I’m so inspired and I have something positive to look forward to. We just want to give people something to look forward to.
To purchase tickets to Black Girl Majestic, visit Eventbrite.com.