Rikki Byrd is a writer, educator, scholar and the founder of @blackfashionarchive. Her research interests cover Black studies, performance studies, fashion and art history, and her research has led her to creating innovative spaces to engage students, scholars and industry professionals in conversations on race and representation.
Byrd has interviewed formidable professionals in art and fashion including André Leon Talley, Mickalene Thomas and Amy Sherald and has been published in academic journals, books and exhibition catalogues including; Companion of African American Theatre and Performance, QED: A Journal of GLBTQ Worldmaking, and Who Says, Who Shows, What Counts: Thinking about History with the Block’s Collection (2021). She has also written for Teen Vogue, Artsy and Hyperallergic.
Byrd received her Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri - Columbia and her Master of Arts in Fashion Studies from Parsons School of Design. Her master’s thesis, Black, the Color We Wear: Representing Blackness in American Fashion, explored how Blackness is centered in popular culture and offered a new approach to reimagining dialogue concerning the Black body.
She has lectured and participated in panel discussions with Instagram, Google and The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), Parsons School of Design, The Barnes Foundation, Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn and Saint Louis Art Museum. From 2016-2018, Rikki was a faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis, where she developed new courses on the intersections of fashion and race for the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and the African and African American Studies Department.
Byrd is also the co-founder and editor of the Fashion and Race Syllabus, and was a guest editor for the Spring 2017 International Journal of Fashion Studies, where she curated a special section on Black Fashion Studies. She co-launched Artists in the Room (AIR) in 2017, a collective that supports emerging black artists in St. Louis, Mo. by connecting them with professional black artists and arts professionals who visit the city.
In 2020 she enrolled as a Ph.D. student in African American Studies at Northwestern University and resides in Chicago, IL.