After being cancelled due to coronavirus last year, the Met Gala, fashion's biggest event of the year, was back with a bang last night in New York City. Cohosted by singer Billie Eilish, poet Amanda Gorman, actor Timothée Chalamet, and tennis player Naomi Osaka, the event undoubtedly makes top billing in the celebrity calendar, drawing the hottest names in the business to showcase their ensembles for the evening and fundraise for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For the 2021 event, the selected theme was "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion", and Vogue reported that Met Gala regular and fashion icon Lewis Hamilton chose to use his influence at the event to showcase Black designers.
A frequent Met Gala attendee, the seven-time Formula One champion is known for wearing the work of high profile designers. This year, however, Hamilton invited three emerging Black designers to his table, which can cost up to $30,000 (£21,629). Historically, tables are often bought up by the biggest creatives in the industry who use the seats for celebrities they have dressed for the evening, which hasn't been great for making the Met Gala an inclusive and diverse event in the past.
Having started The Hamilton Commission to improve Black representation within UK motorsport, Hamilton is said to have realised that the fashion industry equally requires brands and designers to be given more opportunities to make names for themselves. Having been excited by the designs of Theophilio, Kenneth Nicholson, and Jason Rembert over the past 18 months, they were chosen by Hamilton to share his table, to both showcase the theme of the evening and begin efforts to diversify the fashion world.
"The Met is the biggest fashion event of the year, and for this theme, I wanted to create something that was meaningful and would spark a conversation so that when people see us all together, it will put these Black designers at the top of people's minds," Hamilton told Vogue in an interview.
As well as his organisation to improve representation on motorsport, Hamilton also set up the charitable organisation Mission44, which through advocacy, research, and collaboration works to improve educational and employment inequalities that divide society and prevent young Black people from reaching their potential, and empower them to succeed. He is certainly using his influence and status to put Black talent to the forefront of public minds and raise awareness of the pertinent issues facing the community.