My Story: Up Shut with Black Style & Magnificence Gala Founder Ann-Marie Daniel Barker

My Story: Up Close with Black Fashion & Beauty Gala

Photograph by Rebecca Carty, B.Classicmedia. Design by Danielle Campbell.

Welcome to My Story, our weekly sequence championing creatives of color and their paths to success.



On September 24, 2021, a brand new annual awards gala is coming to city, and it’s saluting Black excellence inside Canada’s vogue and sweetness industries. Set to be held at Toronto’s Parkview Manor (elevated gathering limits pending), the Black Style & Magnificence Gala is geared in the direction of celebrating native Black creatives and Black-owned companies and its nominations, which open up on January 1st, 2021, span 12 totally different classes – suppose pictures, make-up artistry, vogue design, vogue retail and far more. The brand new awards ceremony is the fervour mission of Ann-Marie Daniel Barker, a seasoned Toronto-based vogue and occasion stylist who’s been working within the trade for over twenty years. The concept of uplifting and championing native Black Canadian expertise was closely influenced by her personal profession journey and what she’s witnessed, she shares. “What I discover inside Canada is that it’s an entire journey breaking into the [fashion and beauty] trade for Black people. After I began out, to crack into it, oh my goodness, it was the toughest factor! It wasn’t till I really left the nation and went to the States that I lastly received my break. It wasn’t in Toronto.” She provides that her ardour for such a celebration, which has an enormous concentrate on mentoring future expertise by bursaries and workshops, has been festering in her thoughts for fairly a while and that she actually started hitting the bottom working within the wake of the current pressing push for racial reform throughout the globe.

Right here, Ann-Marie shares, in her personal phrases, extra concerning the private life occasions that led her to create the much-welcomed Black Style & Magnificence Gala and the way her occasion is structured.

On previous encounters that led to her thought brewing:

“I ran right into a younger girl in downtown Toronto some years in the past throughout the center of winter. She was a homeless Black lady with no winter coat and she or he stopped me. Typically we simply stroll by folks begging however, no matter it was, one thing drew me to her and I made a decision to show again and discuss to her. I used to be working to a gathering and there was a espresso store near the place we have been standing so I stated to her, ‘If you wish to sit within the espresso store till I’m achieved, I’ll come again and search for you.’ After I got here again, she was there ready and we ended up having the longest dialog ever into her life and story. Her story was one which I discovered was very tragic and my coronary heart simply bled for her. I additionally requested her what it’s she wished to do in life. She instructed me she beloved vogue and all the time wished to be a dressmaker, however that nobody ever believed in her. Nobody has ever given her an opportunity. That wherever she goes, there’s all the time a door in her face. Whereas sitting there listening to her story, I noticed part of me in her: the youthful me in her. That struck a twine with me. Proper at that time, I instructed myself that I’m going to take an opportunity on her as a result of I additionally thought that, as a Black ladies myself, if I have been in these footwear, I’d have favored somebody to provide me a serving to hand. I ended up discovering her a spot to remain and put her by college. She’s now dwelling in New York and learning vogue design. I bear in mind her saying to me, that day, ‘I promise you I’ll make you proud. You received’t remorse it.’ And I’ve to say, I’m very pleased with her as a result of she’s come a good distance and remains to be going by the method.

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Whereas going by all of that, I additionally began listening to tales from different younger folks about how a lot ardour they’ve for the style trade and that they need to break in, however it’s very robust.”

On the dearth of Black illustration which stored her thought wheels churning:

“I additionally realized that there’s nothing right here in Canada recognizing and acknowledging Black creatives — interval — and Black folks throughout the trade say the identical factor to me. In the future I simply sat down and thought by what was lacking and got here up with the thought [for an awards gala] some years in the past, however it simply was by no means the correct timing for me: I used to be tremendous busy with work and touring on a regular basis so was by no means in a single place lengthy sufficient. However now, with Covid, all the pieces is on maintain. Then the entire Black Lives Matter motion took place, too, and one evening I used to be mendacity in my mattress and the thought got here again to me — that this was the time to resurrect it. I began making cellphone calls and earlier than I knew it, a staff was created and we began the method of planning the entire idea and placing it collectively.”

A handful of Black Canadian ladies within the vogue and sweetness industries. LEAD PHOTOGRAPHER: REBECCA CARTY, B.CLASSICMEDIA. ASSISTANT PHOTOGRAPHER: DELE NAMEISAYO.

On why mentoring issues to the Black Style & Magnificence Gala:

“One of many crucial features of the awards for me is the mentorship portion and the bursaries as a result of I really feel that it’s so vital that we’re capable of assist, construct and foster the youthful technology by making a platform for them. [Previous generations] have achieved it already — and are nonetheless doing it — so how can we go about creating one thing throughout the trade that provides up-and-coming expertise a blueprint or highway path. One thing that makes it tad bit simpler for them to crack into the trade and comply with their goals. The mentorship program can be an ongoing, month-to-month factor the place we’ve workshops with trade professionals. They’d are available to facilitate and information attendees. Proper now I’m engaged on the define and with the town of Toronto who’s providing some assist. Cloré Magnificence Provide is considered one of our official sponsors for the awards ceremony they usually have harassed that they might like to associate on the mentorship program as properly.”

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On how the BFBG bursary program will work:

“The bursaries will go in the direction of up-and-comers who’re going to highschool at a credited school and learning one thing associated to the trade. It may be any program, so long as it’s vogue or beauty-geared and incorporates enterprise. I put the enterprise course factor in there as a result of I feel that’s integral: One must know easy methods to steadiness the books and run a enterprise. How we’ve structured our bursary program is the general public can apply and we’ve a staff engaged on setting the standards for the bursary that candidates should comply with. We’ll then award the bursary winner on the evening of the award present, which might be $5,000. For our first yr, there might be one winner and we’ve determined to not give the funds on to the person. As a substitute, we’d like to rearrange to provide the funds instantly over to the credited establishment to make sure that we will be accountable for each greenback that’s going out from our sponsors. We structured it that solution to preserve management and be sure that the funds are going instantly in the direction of what they have been meant to. That not a greenback goes elsewhere. We additionally felt that the bursary can go in the direction of somebody who’s beginning their very own enterprise throughout the trade or a pre-existing enterprise seeking to rebrand, develop stock, and so forth. So [education and entrepreneurship] will fall underneath the bursary program.

We plan to additionally comply with up all year long to see how the recipient is doing and on the subsequent awards gala, the aim is to have the earlier recipient come up and speak about their bursary and the way [the experience] has been for them.”

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A handful of Canadian Black males throughout the vogue and sweetness industries. LEAD PHOTOGRAPHER: REBECCA CARTY, B.CLASSICMEDIA.

On the BFBG nomination course of:

“The general public can go in and nominate who they suppose is the perfect in whichever class. When nominations shut, we gather all that information and there might be 4 folks per class chosen as finalists. We’ll notify them and pictures of these people might be posted on the web site. The voting course of will then open, and the general public can return and vote for his or her favorite. We’re actually stressing that nominations are Canada-wide and never simply Toronto-centric. On the evening of the ceremony, every winner will obtain a custom-designed statuette within the form of the BFBG brand.”

On the response she’s acquired to this point pre-awards gala: 

“I’ve to say, the responses to this point have been actually great. We’ve been getting quite a lot of direct messages and quite a lot of cellphone calls from folks throughout the trade. Persons are very enthusiastic about your complete idea of feeling like they’re being acknowledged. Virtually each message or name that is available in states, ‘That is lengthy wanted.’ That having this platform is a manner for Black people [within the industry] to lastly get their shine. That’s actually and really what that is about: to acknowledge and showcase the numerous skills inside Canada’s Black group. That is additionally to indicate Canadian corporations and companies that we’re right here — that you just don’t have to rent and usher in Black expertise from the US. We have now that proper right here in Canada. Sure the States has quite a lot of nice expertise, however we’d like a few of the alternatives to remain right here. Open up that door and let [the opportunities] flood in. I’m very captivated with that.”

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