Models Rally Behind the Cause of Fashion Diversity


Perhaps they’ve been fired up by the continually low numbers of non-white faces presented during this past New York Fashion Week, but models are particularly vocal right now about the lack of diversity in the fashion world. The latest is Jourdan Dunn, who told The Guardian that it’s “lazy” for fashion editors to say that they won’t put black women on magazine covers because they don’t sell.

This isn’t the first time Dunn has spoken about this issue, but she’s not backing down, even after making multiple appearances on the runway in both New York Fashion Week and London this month:

“I feel like the people who should be talking about it, and who can make a difference, aren’t. All I can do is talk. The people higher than me – the stylists, the designers, the casting directors – they’re the ones with the power to change this. That’s where the conversation needs to happen – at big-dog level. The people who control the industry. They say if you have a black face on a magazine cover it won’t sell, but there’s no real evidence for that. It’s lazy. You always hear ‘there aren’t enough black models’, which is BS. It’s all about these dead excuses.”

Supermodel Naomi Campbell, who closed Diane Von Furstenberg’s show, recently joined Bethann Hardison‘s Balance Diversity campaign, which sent open letters to the British Fashion Council, the Council of American Fashion Designers of America, the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana and the Fédération Française de la Couture. The letters read:

Eyes are on an industry that season after season watches fashion design houses consistently use of one or no models of color.
No matter the intention, the result is racism.
Not accepting another based on the color of their skin is clearly beyond “aesthetic” when it is consistent with the designer’s brand.
Whether it’s the decision of the designer, stylist or casting director, that decision to use basically all white models, reveals a trait that is unbecoming to modern society.
It can no longer be accepted, nor confused by the use of the Asian model.

Speaking with Fashionista, Hardison says she’s very excited about the slight increase some houses showed this past fashion week in diversity, though she thinks the real test will be the next fall/winter season. “In spring/summer you always include a little bit more [people of color]. Because you’re casting for a girl with a little bit more color,” she said. She also added that she thinks it’ll be the international shows that have a harder time diversifying than in the United States, because “in Milan, you don’t see black people.”

Jourdan Dunn joins the fashion racial diversity debate [The Guardian]

Racism on the Runway: How Bethann Hardison’s Diversity Coalition Is Changing Fashion [Fashionista]

Images via Getty

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