Rikki Byrd is a writer, educator and scholar with a passion for African American Studies, fashion history and popular culture. She received her Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri and her Master of Arts in Fashion Studies from Parsons School of Design. Her master’s thesis, Black, the Color We Wear, unpacked the representation and performance of blackness in American fashion. Since then, her research has led her to create innovative spaces to engage students, scholars, and fashion industry professionals in conversations on fashion and race.
Her research has appeared at Art Basel and has been published (or is forthcoming) in various academic journals and books including BIAS: Journal of Dress Practice, Fashion Studies Journal, African-American Arts: Activism and Aesthetics, QED: A Journal of GLBTQ Dressmaking, and elsewhere. She has also written for Mic, ManRepeller and ALIVE Magazine. She is the co-editor of the Fashion and Race Syllabus, and was a guest editor for the Spring 2017 International Journal of Fashion Studies, where she edited a special section on Black Fashion Studies. In Spring 2016, she co-organized the Fashion and Diversity Series at The New School. The program went on to win the Outstanding Student Program of the Year Award. She has lectured and participated in panel discussions at Parsons School of Design, Junior High! in Los Angeles, Washington University, Fontbonne University, Missouri History Museum, and in fall 2017 will speak at St. Louis Art Museum.
Rikki is currently a faculty member at Washington University, St. Louis where she has developed new courses on Fashion History and Research and Fashion and Race, and Fashion and African American Studies, in the Sam Fox School of Visual Arts and Design and the African and African American Studies department, respectively.