Fashion Doesn’t Want Black ModelsJune 15, 2011 No Comments
Vogue Italia, the pinnacle of high fashion magazines, just put three plus-size models on its cover and the Brazilian transsexual model Lea T has been making a lot of waves in the fashion world. But don’t be fooled — this doesn’t mean the industry is more accepting of diversity.
Carole White, Naomi Campbell’s former agent and the founder of Premier Model Management, broke it all down for the Daily Mail’s Liz Jones, who had noticed during the runway shows she saw that no black models graced the Chanel catwalk and only one walked for Yves Saint Laurent.
In the two European fashion capitals, Paris and Milan, “they absolutely don’t want black girls. A black model has to be a real star before you can take her there,” White explained. “They only take a black girl when the biz is buzzing about her.” This is also true of New York, where 84.8 percent of the looks at the Fall 2011 Fashion Week were modeled by white women.
But even black models who want to build their portfolios with more middle-range work will have trouble, she said. “The catalogues, the e-commerce websites — it is difficult. They want girls who are ethnic, but light-skinned girls. If a girl is very dark, they say no.”
The brands aren’t the only ones to blame according to her. “A lot of photographers don’t know how to light a black girl,” she said.
Carole White’s agency is one of the most diverse because 15 percent of the models on her books have non-white backgrounds. That’s pretty sad.
The fashion industry was built on a model of white beauty but with the speed of globalization and the constant critiques it’s earned fashion execs, you’d think they’d move a little quicker. Why do they agree to stick to such an archaic model of beauty? Isn’t a piece of clothing even more amazing when it can look just as stunning on a variety of people?
The concept of beauty is great because it can be different for everyone. It’s about time the fashion industry showed that diversity.
Contact the author here: firstname.lastname@example.org