Rikki Byrd is a writer, educator and scholar, with research interests in Black studies, fashion history and cultural studies. 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, explores how blackness is centered in popular culture and offers a new approach to reimagining dialogue concerning the black body. Since then, her research has led her to creating innovative spaces to engage students, scholars, and industry professionals in conversations on race and representation.
In Spring 2016, she co-organized the Fashion and Diversity Series at The New School. 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, Companion of African American Theatre and Performance, African-American Arts: Activism and Aesthetics, and QED: A Journal of GLBTQ Dressmaking. She has also written for Fashionista, Mic, ManRepeller and ALIVE Magazine. She has lectured and participated in panel discussions at Parsons School of Design, Junior High! in Los Angeles, and Missouri History Museum. 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 curated a special section on Black Fashion Studies.
Rikki is currently a faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis, where she has developed new courses on the intersections of fashion and race for the Sam Fox School of Visual Art and Design and the African and African American Studies department.