Meet Shelby Ivey Christie, a New York-based, fashion and costume historian who is changing and challenging the way the world views fashion by highlighting the overlooked Black contributions to the billion-dollar industry. Christie combines nearly ten years of professional fashion experience, having worked at Vogue, InStyle, and W Magazine, with her academic background in history and costume design from NYU to examine fashion and dress through the lens of race, class, and culture.
She’s passionate about connecting the dots to discover how economics, culture and society intersect with fashion. What makes Christie unique is her uncanny ability to utilize her social media and research skills to provide in-depth analysis to unearth untold Black fashion stories and narratives for her massive Twitter following. Her Twitter handle, @bronze_bombSHEL, has a loyal and engaged audience of 39,000 and it’s there she curates Twitter threads of engaging digital history lessons by using memes, Gifs, and colloquialisms specific to the Black community. Whether it’s creating Twitter threads on one of YSL’s model muses, or Beyoncé’s Homecoming looks at Coachella, she explores the intersectionality of Black culture and fashion to create visibility and awareness of the often-forgotten influence of Black people on fashion for centuries.
Her in-depth research, primary sources, and transformation of historical text with internet content like memes and trending topics to make academic subjects more accessible, has allowed her to garner interest from fashion luminaries like Gucci Creative Director and Black designer, Dapper Dan, Anifa Mvuemba, Zerina Akers. Christie has also partnered with notable high profiled brands Netflix, CFDA, and TIDAL. Through her tireless and meticulous research, she has solidified herself as a reputable and trusted expert of Black fashion and costume design history.
Dominique Fluker: How did you become a notable fashion and costume historian?
Shelby Ivey Christie: My career journey has been dual-pathed. I got my start in fashion interning at W Magazine in Fall 2011. I had dropped out of college at NC A&T SU a year prior. I had enrolled in college as a fashion merchandising major. However, I was also beginning to be interested in history. Against my parent’s wishes, I snuck and changed my major to History, but then I missed my previous fashion curriculum. I returned to NC A&T SU in 2012 as a History major and earned my B.A. in Race, Class, and Culture in 2015. Upon graduating, I interned at InStyle Magazine in the accessories department.
I hadn’t previously exposed to the business side of fashion, but I had my sights set on it as my next step. After my internship concluded at the end of the summer, I threw myself into researching and applying to market roles, and I landed at Mindshare as an Associate Media Planner. A year and a half into my time there, I was recruited to join Vogue’s Digital media team as a Media Planner.
I love the business side of luxury