Homme + Femme’s new Kentucky Derby collaboration pays homage to Black horsemen : NPR

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Fashions pose in items from Homme + Femme’s newest collaboration with Churchill Downs for this yr’s Kentucky Derby race.

Michael Greenburg/Homme + Femme


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Michael Greenburg/Homme + Femme

From the colourful clothes and dapper fits to the extravagant hats and the snazzy footwear, one of the crucial notable components of the Kentucky Derby is the showcase of the most recent spring kinds and appears.

One of many newest kinds making its debut at this yr’s race, which takes place on Saturday, brings a selected twist on the historic traditions of the Derby.

Black-owned streetwear model Homme + Femme has launched its newest collaboration with Churchill Downs, the host of the Kentucky Derby, for a brand new clothes line that goals to take care of the historic and wealthy traditions of the annual race — all via the lens of streetwear style.

“The primary objective [of the collaboration] is to only bridge the hole between events of luxurious style and streetwear,” mentioned Drew Evans, Homme + Femme founder and designer.

Evans, who grew up in Compton, Calif., says his major supply of inspiration on the subject of the gathering was the heritage of Black jockeys and the Kentucky Derby — acknowledging the affect that African People performed on the game.

“We wish to carry this assortment to a extra fashionable era. And the one method that I understand how to [do so] is thru garments,” he mentioned.

The gathering goals to carry inclusiveness to the Derby

Gaining inspiration from the legacy of Black jockeys and their contributions to the game, Evans says the brand new assortment each celebrates the repute of the Derby whereas celebrating range and inclusiveness throughout the sport.

“I have a look at the Kentucky Derby as type of a prestigious, high-end elite sort of venue. And folks have a look at streetwear as type of just like the ‘voice of the youth’ …We wish to bridge that hole and produce inclusiveness for everybody,” mentioned Evans.

The gathering, which launched online the week of the Derby, contains a number of objects all with distinctive designs reminiscent of letterman jackets, exercise blazers resembling varsity sweaters, T-shirts and trucker hats.

The designs additionally embody imagery of roses, horseshoes, horses and trophies included into the streetwear items, in line with a information launch.

Fashions pose in items alongside a show of hats from Homme + Femme’s latest collaboration with Churchill Downs, the horse racing advanced that’s dwelling to the Kentucky Derby.

Michael Greenburg/Homme + Femme


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Michael Greenburg/Homme + Femme


Fashions pose in items alongside a show of hats from Homme + Femme’s latest collaboration with Churchill Downs, the horse racing advanced that’s dwelling to the Kentucky Derby.

Michael Greenburg/Homme + Femme

“We’re thrilled to unveil a collaborative capsule with Black-owned model, Homme+Femme,” mentioned Emily Turman, senior director of partnerships and licensing for Churchill Downs in a press release to NPR.

“By the distinctive, fashionable lens of streetwear style, [it] will assist carry to life the posh and pleasure of the Kentucky Derby for followers throughout the globe.”

Evans, together with Kentucky native, Valerie Bruce, aimed to design items that carry folks collectively from completely different backgrounds, with the objective of displaying how they’ll join, in line with a launch.

“In a world the place division appears to take middle court docket, we wish to carry connection and unity to the forefront,” Bruce and Evans mentioned in a information launch.

Black historical past runs deep within the sport of horse racing

On the subject of the contributions of African People and the Kentucky Derby, Black horsemen and jockeys performed a significant function within the sport of horse racing.

From the primary Derby race in 1875 via the early 1900s, Black jockeys and horsemen laid the inspiration for horse racing, mentioned Chris Goodlett, director of curatorial and academic affairs on the Kentucky Derby Museum.

In the course of the inaugural yr of the Derby, 13 out of 15 jockeys competing within the sport had been Black, together with the winning jockey Oliver Lewis. Black horsemen and jockeys later went on to win 15 of the Derby’s first 28 races.

Oliver Lewis, pictured right here, received the primary Kentucky Derby in 1875 on horse Aristides. In the course of the inaugural yr of the Kentucky Derby, 13 out of 15 jockeys had been Black, together with Lewis.

Churchill Downs Racetrack


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Churchill Downs Racetrack


Oliver Lewis, pictured right here, received the primary Kentucky Derby in 1875 on horse Aristides. In the course of the inaugural yr of the Kentucky Derby, 13 out of 15 jockeys had been Black, together with Lewis.

Churchill Downs Racetrack

Nevertheless, it wasn’t till the Jim Crow period when Black jockeys and horsemen had been finally pushed out from competing in races, Goodlett mentioned. Attributable to Jim Crow legal guidelines, Black jockeys weren’t solely victims of discrimination, but additionally victims of violence.

“At instances, bodily violence by white jockeys [was used] towards their African American counterparts in racing,” Goodlett mentioned. “Within the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, many states had been making it very tough, if not even unattainable, for African American jockeys to get licenses to journey on the flip of the twentieth century.”

In 1980, 11 Black jockeys who competed within the Derby between 1875 and 1902 had been honored by the NAACP and the Lincoln Foundation for his or her achievements within the Derby.

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