The Legacy of The Late Andre Leon Talley (A Summary of His Greatest Contributions To Fashion)

The fashion world is currently mourning the death of André Leon Talley, one of the world’s leading fashion journalists. Talley died on January 18 in White Plains, New York due to a heart attack. Talley’s death has created a void in the fashion world as it leaves a legacy filled with memories of his extravagant reputation and pioneering milestones in the fashion industry - having been credited as one of the first African-American “outsiders” in the industry which has opened up the doors for a more inclusive and diverse environment.

Serving as a pillar for global fashion, Talley has taken up numerous roles in his storied life of glamour such as manning the helm of Vogue as its creative director and editor-at-large. Speaking about his legacy, Talley remarked in a 2009 interview with Time Out New York that he wanted to be remembered as someone who has made a difference in the lives of the youth, he said, “I’d like to be remembered as someone who made a difference in the lives of young people - that I nurtured someone and taught them to pursue their dreams and their careers, to leave a legacy.”

One of the biggest legacies that Talley will forever be remembered for is how he braved against the fashion industry which during the start of his career has been revolving around the rich white demographic. As an African-American editor who came from a life of poverty, Talley broke the invisible borders of the industry and opened up the world of fashion to a larger population after he was assigned as the first-ever black man to hold the position of creative director for Vogue from the years 1988 to 1995.

Talley is also known for his other contributions such as serving as the Obama family’s fashion advisor - particularly Michelle Obama. The fashion legend also served as the international editor of Numéro Russia from 2013 to 2014. Talley also helped jumpstart the careers of many people of color designers such as LaQuan Smith. Talley is widely credited for the inclusion of more Japanese designers during his stint with Vogue in the 90s.

By Neil Gregorio

Neil Gregorio is a graduating university student who writes as a hobby; when he is away from the keyboard, he spends his time watching Japanese animated shows and jamming out to his favorite rock music.