This is how EJ Johnson really feels about diversity in the fashion industry
EJ Johnson is a fashion force to be reckoned with. A trailblazer in the industry, EJ has managed to capture the attention of over half a million fans with his fashion images that push the envelope on what defines menswear. His blending and blurring of the lines that differentiate "men's" clothing versus "women's" has not only put him on the shortlist of top fashion influencers, but it also reinforces a sense of empowerment to all of his fans.
At the end of the day, Johnson hopes his influence can help his followers be the best versions of themselves, regardless of expectations set in place by outdated industry mindsets or social acceptability.
Below, we spoke to the fashion revolutionary himself to discuss minorities in the industry, how fashion can be the source of strength, and more!
And if you want even more EJ Johnson news, head over to AOL.com to see all his exclusive videos, photos, and interviews. Or check out the AOL Instagram, where he will be posting his insider Fashion Week photos all day.
Being one of few very prominent minority fashion influencers, how has your experience been in the industry? And how have you seen it evolving?
Really good question. A lot of the industry's evolution has to do with people just stepping up. In the past, people just try to be like someone else, but now we have people who are breaking new ground and doing things that are unexpected. Kanye and Pharrell are at the forefront of mens' fashion and it has nothing to do with their race; they're just doing things that people wouldn't expect and pushing the boundaries on what men should wear. And I think that's something that I'm doing too. I blur a lot of gender lines, wearing womenswear and menswear, and I think that is what has been really getting me attention. And I encourage more people -- especially people of color -- to do the same, and branch out and do what you think is right. You don't need to be like anyone else to be fashionable. If you really want to get out there, you need to break ground in some way.
So you view fashion as a sense of empowerment for yourself?
Certainly, it's a source of empowerment for myself. It has always been a way for me to express myself and get my vision and my creativity out there. And it's always been a vehicle for me for that and that's why I hold it so near and dear to my heart. It's not just expensive clothes that I'm putting on my back, or a nice handbag; this is how I'm expressing myself to the world.
I always talk to people who put their voice out there in social media and about how important it is to do so. Because sometimes your followers aren't exposed to as much as you are.
Agreed! It is really important to have these conversations because of that. Sometimes people will look at my Instagram and say, "Oh it's just about money or excess or being over the top", but it really, it is just about expressing myself. This is how I want to give myself to the world. I want people to take it as an example, and incorporate this empowerment into their own lives and be the best version of themselves that they can be.
YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, including EJ's past features, click here.
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