When Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter took the stage at Coachella, she brought Black history and culture to the forefront. And in between celebrating the Black college experience (specifically HBCUs), the first Black woman to ever headline the music festival championed Black bodies, feminism, activism, and her family, all while wearing a custom Balmain hoodie. On July 13, that same hoodie, available in both yellow and pink, along with a black T-shirt featuring a sorority-inspired graphic, will go on sale with proceeds benefiting the United Negro College Fund.
Frederick D. Patterson and Mary McLeod Bethune founded the United Negro College Fund in 1944, and since then, the organisation has raised more than £3.6 billion, helping more than 450,000 students attend historically Black universities. “This is something important and this collaboration is talking to the new generation and saying you can get that piece, you can be a part of the history,” Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing tells Vogue.
Recreating such a small part of such a historic moment (Beychella) makes Rousteing emotional. “I’m of mixed race. I’m Black and my parents are white. I grew up in France without having a real identification of being Black and being an adult," he says. "I couldn’t see myself in the future, in a way, because there were not so many people in the ’80s or early ’90s that could show me a direction. For me, working with Beyoncé, it’s more than only music. It’s about history, working with a woman that’s going to be part of the history and has made her own revolution, not only in music, not only in fashion. She is an icon to an entire generation and so many more generations can follow the steps of Beyoncé and say, ‘You give us hope, you make us dream.’”
This isn’t the first time Rousteing has used his design powers for good. In May, he dressed another iconic Black woman, French film star Aïssa Maïga, as well as 17 other Black actresses, for the Cannes Film Festival steps in protest of the racism that continues to perpetuate our society. Following the Met Gala on May 7, Rousteing auctioned off the custom pieces he made for Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez, Trevor Noah, Juliette Binoche, Natalia Vodianova, Natasha Poly, and Julia Stegner, with 100% of the proceeds going towards (RED)'s Global Fund, which works to eliminate the transmission of HIV from mothers to their babies.