It's 2022. Black, Indigenous and People of Colour shouldn't have to educate on the importance of diversity, especially in fashion. Yet, model, medical scientist, and now founder of The Blueprint, Reem Elnour, has done all the heavy lifting.
"I got tired of asking," Elnour tells RUSSH. Earlier this year, Reem announced over Instagram that she'd been quietly developing the first directory showcasing BIPOC creatives across Australia and New Zealand. "I did what I do best as a scientist and I collected, not data, but names, and made something out of it."
On The Blueprint website you'll find a non-exhaustive guide to exclusively BIPOC photographers, graphic designers, models, hair and makeup artists, musicians, stylists, performers – anyone that would fall under the umbrella of a "creative". Seeing the abundance of local talent laid out like this, it's deeply exciting. It's also made these creatives impossible to ignore.
As Elnour explains, this was by design. "It's my way of saying “okay there’s no excuse for you to only hire white people, look at this directory, look at how many of us are existing in these spaces we have created for ourselves, it's time we get our flowers"."
Below, we speak with Reem Elnour about The Blueprint, discussing its mission and her hopes for the Australian fashion industry. Find our conversation, underneath.
View this post on Instagram
As the founder of The Blueprint, can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Reem. I’m a medical scientist, model and creative. Most people I meet for the first time are surprised to hear, but I feel like being in such different fields and professions is complementary.
What is the mission of The Blueprint?
The Blueprint is a resource and platform for BIPOC creatives. The goal is to address the lack of diversity in the creative and fashion industries by shining a light on local talent, all while creating space and opportunities for BIPOCs.
Who is The Blueprint for?
Firstly, it is a resource for us, by us – meaning it primarily functions as a community and space to connect BIPOC creatives and professionally with each other.
It is also a place where everyone else can look to find new talent (instead of working with the same old people they always work with).
It's my way of saying “okay there’s no excuse for you to only hire white people, look at this directory, look at how many of us are existing in these spaces we have created for ourselves, it's time we get our flowers.”
So to put it simply, The Blueprint is for everyone!
What kind of change would you like to see in the Australian fashion industry and industry at large?
Diversity, but done with intention and done RIGHT.
Put BIPOC people in places of power, because no one will advocate for us the way we do, no one understands our experience the way we do. It's not enough to have a few BIPOC people walk in a fashion show – what about the team behind the scenes? What about the makeup artists, stylists, and set designers?
It's not enough to have a Black model occasionally grace the cover of a magazine. Why can we count the number of BIPOCs working there on three fingers? It’s not enough to invite us to a fancy PR event for a sprinkle of diversity, despite never even being hired by them…
At the same time, we are tired of asking for space to be made, only to get crumbs. Which is why we are unapologetically and proudly taking up space.
How do you hope The Blueprint will be a part of this change?
I want people to SEE us, and recognise that we are multifaceted, talented, and deserving of opportunities. And I know that I'm just one person and that I can’t solve everything, but this is my way of showcasing the incredible people around me who have been overlooked and deserve to shine.
How do you see the platform growing? Where would you like it to go?
I want to create a network of like minded people. I want to see large scale collaborations, and relationships forming as a result of this platform.
We have had a few conversations about the lack of and huge need for diversity within the Australian fashion industry – why did now feel like the right time for the launch of The Blueprint?
I got tired of asking… I did what I do best as a scientist and I collected, not data, but names, and made something out of it. Imagine 30 years from now, looking back at how we could have done better, but did not?
If not now, when?