As New York Fashion Week is once again upon us, so is the question, “Where are the black models?” During Fashion Week in February, black models accounted for just 6 percent of the looks shown (down from 8.1 percent the previous season); 82.7 percent were worn by white models, reports The New York Times.
The Times wrote an exhaustive article about the ongoing efforts to diversify the fashion industry, with many black fashion insiders saying that online action may be the only way to encourage designers to include more minority models in their shows this September. Bethann Hardison, a former model and agent, told the Times that she is organizing a social media campaign to bring public scrutiny to specific designers (such as Dior, Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton and Chanel) who do not use black models. This is in hopes that consumers might think twice before buying items from designers who do not use black models. “I wonder if that would make them have second thoughts about buying the shoes, the accessories and the bags,” she said.
Iconic model Iman is calling for even more drastic action. “It feels to me like the times need a real hard line drawn like in the 1960s, by saying if you don’t use black models, then we boycott,” Iman told Huffington Post. “If you engage the social media, trust me, it will hurt them in their pockets. If you take it out there, they will feel the uproar.”
But because the general public doesn’t necessarily purchase high-end designer clothes, image activist and fashion insider Michaela Angela Davis says social media is the way to go to effect change, especially Black Twitter. Some credit African Americans who took to Twitter for putting the kibosh on the book that George Zimmerman juror B37 had planned on writing about the experience.
Do you think by exposing designers who don’t use black models will spur an industry change?