Homme Femme’s collection pays homage to the Black horsemen of the Kentucky Derby
From colorful dresses and elegant suits to extravagant hats and chic shoes, one of the most notable elements of the Kentucky Derby is showcasing the latest spring styles and looks.
One of the latest styles, making its debut at this year’s race on Saturday, brings a special twist to the historic derby tradition.
Black-owned street wear brand Homme Fame debuts its latest collaboration with Kentucky Derby host Churchill Downs on a new line of clothing that aims to preserve the historic and rich traditions of the annual race through the lens of street fashion Is.
“[The collaboration’s] main goal is to bridge the gap between luxury fashion and home accessories only,” said Drew Evans, founder and designer of Home Femme. Said Drew Evans, founder and founder of Home Femme.
Evans, Joe Compton, Calif. grew up in, says his main source of inspiration when it comes to writing are black jockeys and the history of the Kentucky Derby – acknowledging the impact on African Americans playing the game nav.
The collection aims to bring inclusiveness to the Derby
Taking inspiration from the legacy of black riders and their contributions to the sport, Evans says the new collection celebrates the Derby’s reputation while also celebrating the sport’s diversity and inclusion.
“I look at the Kentucky Derby as a kind of famous, high-end and famous place. And people look at street wear as ‘youth voice’ … We want to fill that gap and make sure that someone every inclusive,” Evans said.
Launched online the week of the derby, the collection includes a variety of items with unique designs such as letterman shirts, varsity sweater-like workout blazers, T-shirts and trucker hats.
The design also includes images of roses, horseshoes, horses and trophies embedded in the clothing, according to the release.
“We are thrilled to unveil a capsule collaboration with the black-owned brand, Homme Femme,” said Emily Truman, general manager of corporate and licensing at Churchill Downs, in a statement to NPR .
“Uniquely, with a contemporary lens on street wear fashion, [it] will help bring to life the luxury and excitement of the Kentucky Derby for fans around the world.”
Black history runs deep in the sport of horse racing
When it comes to the involvement of African Americans and the Kentucky Derby, black horsemen and athletes play an important role in horse racing.
From the first Derby in 1875 to the early 1900s, black athletes and jockeys formed the foundation of horse racing, said Chris Goodliest, curatorial and technical director. Learn the art of the Kentucky Derby Museum.
During the Derby’s inaugural year, 13 of the 15 jockeys competing in the sport were black, including winning jockey Oliver Lewis. Black jockeys and jockeys later won 15 of the first 28 Derby races.
However, it was not until the Jim Crow era that black jockeys and riders were finally forced out of competition, Goodliest said. Due to Jim Crow laws, black jockeys were not only victims of discrimination, but also victims of violence.
“At times, white athletes used to physically attack their African-American competitors,” Goodliest said. “Many states in the late 19th and early 20th centuries made it very difficult, if not impossible, for African-American jockeys to obtain riding licenses in the 20th century.”
In 1980, 11 black knights who competed in the Derby between 1875 and 1902 were honored by the NAACP and the Lincoln Foundation for their achievements in the Derby.