What’s being done about the lack of diversity on the runway?
Former model agency owner is calling out the fashion design houses who aren’t using models of color.
A former modeling agency owner is calling attention to the ongoing issue of “racist” actions on the fashion runway.
According to The Cut, Bethann Hardison has compiled a list of design houses who continually avoid using black models in their shows. Hardison says that these specific designers are exhibiting “racist” actions by not using black models on the runway in their Spring 2014 shows.
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“Eyes are on an industry that season after season watches fashion design houses consistently use . . . one or no models of color,” Hardison states in an open letter posted on website Balance Diversity, a letter which is also supported by Iman and Naomi Campbell. “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.”
Of the parties being called out for a lack of black models on the runway this past February include Donna Karan, Proenza Schouler, Calvin Klein Collection, Rag & Bone, Narciso Rodriguez, Reed Krakoff and Duckie Brown. The letter also mentions shows abroad — in London, Milan and Paris — in which designers including Giorgio Armani, Versace, Prada and Alexander McQueen were all called out. The purpose of the public letter, Hardison says, is to bring awareness and hopefully initiate momentum to make a change. “I’m not here to tell anyone what to do,” Hardison says. “But I’m telling them that they’re being inappropriate.”
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Hardison admits there has been progress over the years, but not enough. “I do think there’s been progress. But I don’t see the continued progression and the stability.”
Tell us: What do you think of Hardison’s actions?
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