Advocate, model, and muse—with a career spanning over five decades, Bethann Hardison has gone from working in NYC’s Garment District to founding her namesake agency where she guided the careers of some of the most prominent models in the world. In 1988, she founded the Black Girls Coalition, and in 2013, she spearheaded the launch of the Diversity Coalition sparking an industry-wide movement for diversity and inclusion. In recognition of her decades of advocacy work, Bethann received the CFDA’s Founder’s Award in 2014. In 2018, with the support of the CFDA, she founded The Designer’s Hub to guide and empower Black designers, and in 2019 became an inaugural member of Gucci’s Changemakers Council. Bethann currently serves on the CFDA’s Board of Directors and as Gucci’s Executive Advisor for Global Equity and Cultural Engagement.
Frédéric Tcheng is a French-born filmmaker based in Brooklyn, New York. His award-winning directorial debut DIOR AND I premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival and was released by The Orchard. In 2019, Frédéric directed the documentary HALSTON, a CNN Films and Amazon Original production. His most recent film INVISIBLE BEAUTY premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Previously, Frédéric co-produced and co-edited VALENTINO: THE LAST EMPEROR which premiered at the 2009 Venice Film Festival and was shortlisted for the Best Documentary at the Academy Awards. He is also the co-director of the 2011 acclaimed documentary DIANA VREELAND: THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL, which the New York Times called “dizzily enjoyable.” Frédéric has served as a filmmaking mentor for Queer Art, a non-profit arts organization that serves a diverse community of LGBTQ+ artists. He studied engineering in France and is a graduate of the film program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts.
Fashion revolutionary and model turned agent and activist Bethann Hardison knew that Black is beautiful well before the fashion industry acknowledged the truth. From walking runway shows alongside Iman to discovering supermodels like Tyson Beckford and mentoring icons like Naomi Campbell, Hardison has been at the epicenter of major representational shifts in fashion. Catalyzing change requires continuous championing, and as the next generation takes the reins, Hardison reflects on her personal journey and the cost of being a pioneer.
In tandem with Frédéric Tcheng (Halston, Dior and I), Bethann Hardison is a force at the helm of her own story. Together, the co-directors trace Hardison’s impact on fashion from runway shows in New York and Paris in the ’70s to roundtables about lack of racial diversity in the early 2000s. Hardison’s audaciousness and candor are inspiring and inviting. Interviews with industry speak to the state of fashion, while friends and family attest to Hardison’s rebellious and ambitious spirit. The film is an absorbing record of Hardison’s accomplishments and a rare contemplation on the life of a radical thinker. Directed by Bethann Hardison, Frederic Tcheng (104 min)