On Monday the Formula One Driver paid for three designers - Theophilio, Kenneth Nicholson, and Jason Rembert – to sit at his table with other Black innovators including Zendaya’s stylist Law Roach, Alton Mason, Kehlani and athletes Miles Chamley-Watson and Sha'Carri Richardson. It's believed an individual ticket for the Met Gala costs approximately $30,000 (£21,000), while designers pay at least $275,000 (£198,000) for tables.
Explaining his generous move, the British driver told Vogue: ‘The Met is the biggest fashion event of the year, and for this theme, I wanted to create something that was meaningful and would spark a conversation.
‘So that when people see us all together, it will put these Black designers at the top of people’s minds.’
Ahead of the Met Gala 2021 many sartorial fans assumed several of its attendees – including Gigi Hadid, Zoe Kravitz and Kendall Jenner – would cherish the opportunity to wear American designs on the red carpet, given the event’s theme 'American Independence'.
And while some stars did champion American designers - including Ralph Lauren, Carolina Herrera and Michael Kors - it’s fair to say there was a clear lack of American artistic representation on the red carpet, notably looks created by Black designers like Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss, LaQuan Smith and Claude Kameni whose designers actually feature in the museum's exhibition this year.
In case you’re unaware of how the Met Gala works, most tables are bought by different brands and celebrities are invited as their “guests.” This is a simplified explanation but it works.
As such it’s difficult to get young designers involved because they can’t afford a table.
— top 99% (@mikelledstreet) September 14, 2021
Hamilton later shared a photo of himself with his all-Black table of talent on Instagram and captioned the post: ‘Pure magic last night. These designers — @kenneth.nicholson, @theophilio, @jasonrembert — deserve this moment just as much as any other designer who attends the Met Gala.
‘The goal is, and always will be, to open doors for young Black creatives. [sic]’
Luxury Law also shared a video of his fellow attendees on the red carpet with the caption: ‘When black people meet up!!!…… thank you @lewishamilton. [sic]’
Hamilton – F1’s sole Black driver - has long vocalised the need to celebrate Black talent, fight racism, and also the need for more severe consequences for those who racially abuse others, in order to foster a diverse society.
In 2019 he created The Hamilton Commission, alongside The Royal Academy of Engineering, which works to address the underrepresentation of Black people in UK motorsport and those in the STEM sector.
Earlier this year he praised Formula One for condemning online racist abuse he endured following the British Grand Prix, which came after he crashed with fellow driver Max Verstappen at Silverstone in July.
The FIA (The F1’s governing body), Hamilton's Mercedes team and Verstappen’s Red Bull team criticised the racism, and several other drivers shared messages on social media in support of the British star.
‘I felt for the first time that I didn't stand alone in the sport,’ he said of the backing he received at the time.
‘For all the other years I've been racing, no one would have ever said anything. When it happened before no one said anything. So it was really amazing to see the steps that have been taken.’
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