One thing that always rings true is: when Black women see a need for representation in an industry, we set about doing the work to make that happen. Such was the case for wedding gown designer and bridal salon owner Andrea Pitter, the Spring 2021 cover star for The Knot. Her Brooklyn-based brand, Pantora Bridal, is sold at women and Black-owned boutiques around the country and was most recently picked up by Kleinfeld. Working on this brand since the age of 20, Pitter has grown to a community of over 150k brides and wedding enthusiasts. There's no doubt that this nod from one of the major players in the bridal space will grow Pantora's reach and bring much-needed attention to the underrepresentation and misrepresentation of Black brides in the industry. 

"It's an opportunity for this brand that has existed due to the support of Black women to be nationally recognized… It's an opportunity for The Knot to right some of the bridal industry's wrongs and provide a platform for us to work through some big issues," Andrea said.

The Knot is the #1 wedding planning site in the country and is credited with helping more than 25 million couples plan a wedding that is true to them. However, as with most industries, a lack of diversity remains their Achilles heel. In her feature interview, Pitter addressed the genuine reluctance to seeing Black designers as a real part of the bridal business. 

She said, "Our talent exists year-round, but when we get recognition, it's only on 'Black Designers to Know' lists. But if we are talented, and you truly want to give us the recognition, then it should come at any point in time, not just when you want to specifically acknowledge Black talent. And that's been one of the hardest things, because I think I'm talented overall, not just a talented Black person."

And her desire to see change doesn't stop at only designers but also the way Black women are portrayed in bridal marketing. 

"In bridal photoshoots, when we are included, we are often the bridesmaid. We're rarely the bride. Or sometimes it feels like we're a prop. If we were thought of differently, it could change the way the media portrays us. And that goes back to having Black women in boardrooms. It's not just about hiring a Black person. Black people should also be actively making decisions. We're going to get so much further as a society just by realizing what inclusivity means."

And that's a word. 

Andrea Pitter is not just a Black designer, she's disrupting old conventions and championing us while she's at it. Both she and Pantora Bridal will now be on my list of Black brands and business owners to support with my words and my coins. Read her interview in full with The Knot here