Rikki Byrd is a writer, educator and scholar, with research interests in Black studies, fashion history and cultural studies. She 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. Since its completion, her research has led her to creating innovative spaces to engage students, scholars and industry professionals in conversations on race and representation.
In Spring 2016, she co-organized the Fashion and Diversity Series at The New School, which was awarded the Outstanding Student Program of the Year award by the University. Her research has appeared at Art Basel: Miami and has been published (or is forthcoming) in various academic journals and books, including BIAS: Journal of Dress Practice, Companion of African American Theatre and Performance, African-American Arts: Activism and Aesthetics and QED: A Journal of GLBTQ Worldmaking. She has also written for Hyperallergic, Racked, Fashionista and other media outlets. She has lectured and participated in panel discussions with Google and CFDA, at Parsons School of Design, Junior High! in Los Angeles, Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn and Saint Louis Art Museum . She is the co-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. In Fall 2017, she joined the Women and the Kemper board at the Kemper Art Museum.
Rikki is currently a faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis, where she has 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.