I am a loyal reader of various fashion magazines. I love flipping through the pages, reading the various articles and fashion tips, but most importantly seeing the most beautiful clothes and the gorgeous women that wear them oh so well. Although the representation of african american models can be quite scarce, I can still get a glimpse of some of the cocoa brown beauties that have the opportunity to grace the pages and the runways of major publications and fashion houses. That is certainly more than I can say for my ancestors before me. Seeing a black face on the runways or inside the magazine issues were unheard of until the beautiful Dorothea Towles Church gracefully made her way into an industry, that at the time saw no place for her kind beauty.
Dorothea Towles Church became the first successful black model in Paris is the 1950’s.
Mrs. Church originally set out to become in actress, however after noticing the discrimination black actresses faced in Hollywood she decided to enroll at the Dorothy Farrier Charm and Modeling School in Los Angeles, where she is also noted to be the first black student. She appeared in fashion shows and publications that were catered to african american audiences but yearned for more. Dorothea traveled with her sister to attend the Fisk choir concerts in Paris in 1949. She went out on a limb and tried out for a few modeling assignments and was hired on the spot by Christian Dior. She experienced so much success in Paris that she decided not to return to the United States until 1954. In which she embarked on a black college tour to showcase her very own couture line that served as a fundraiser for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. Dorothea Towles Church later signed a modeling contract with Grace del Marco Agency in New York City.
“I feel that my going all over America with my show had a great influence on American black women dressing differently and feeling good about themselves.They could say, ‘If she can do it, I can do it, too.'”- Dorothea Towles Church
Glamorous, gorgeous and worthy! Thank you Dorothea Towles Church for never letting go of your dreams and opening the door for all of the diverse beauties all over the world.
Thank you for your contribution to our black history, I appreciate you!
Peace Love Fashion,