All Articles Tagged "African American models"
Quick. Which of these looks is “high-fashion”? Which is “urban”?
The answer to the second question is none of them, according to Mychael Knight, the designer who created all of them.
“I will correct someone very quickly when they say I am an ‘urban designer’ or a ‘hip-hop designer,” he said. “There is nothing wrong with [designing hip-hop-inspired sportswear], but it’s just not what I do.”
As for the answer to the first question, Knight, who is black, cites an “invisible barrier” that reserves “high-fashion” anointing for a privileged circle of designers—very few of which are black. “Tracy Reese and Rachel Roy - they’ve penetrated that, but I don’t ever really see any placement of them in fashion magazines”—an indication that Reese and Roy are not readily on the mind of prominent editors and stylists.
Perhaps observant of this trend, some black designers early in their careers choose to use white models, particularly for lookbooks, which are prepared for press and buyers, and on their websites where customers seeking high-fashion looks (assumed to be white) can immediately imagine themselves in their pieces. Though Knight regularly casts models of color for both his runway shows and his lookbooks, he can guess why some African-American designers skip over black models altogether.
“When you open up a fashion magazine—a Vogue or an Elle,” Knight points out, “you never see black models. You think, as a black designer, ‘well, if I need my brand [or] my product to get noticed I need to use the white models.’” It’s like high school, Knight explains. “People feel like they to need fit in.”
Model booker Carole White gave New York Magazine the racial breakdown as it applies to models. “Asian girls do really well. You can’t have too many, but they do really well, and it’s quite easy to book them. For Black girls, it is more difficult.” White is further quoted as saying, “[Black models] have to be utterly amazing. There will be less work. It takes much longer to establish them… because clients don’t take the risk on black girls so much.” For this reason, White admits agencies are “very, very picky” when it comes to signing black models. “Maybe you’re not as picky with the white girls, because there’s more work for them.”
With African-American models facing a shrunken market, getting passed over by black designers only further threatens their livelihood. It also perpetuates old school notions of what, and who, represents luxury versus the aesthetic of the street.
Tags:african american designers, African American models, black designers, elle, Fashion, fashion industry, fashion magazines, gelila bekele, high fashion, magazines, Mychael Knight, mychael knight spring 2012, nana ekua brew-hammond, powder necklace, Project Runway, rachel roy, street wear, tracy reese, urban fashion, Vogue, white models
If you’re sick and tired of seeing cute dresses modeled by super skinny women, you’re not alone. In fact, modeling agent Ben Barry observed that women are more likely to buy an expensive dress if it’s not hung on an extra thin mannequin or model in an ad. The NY Daily News reports that his study found its 2500 women participants of all ages and sizes were more willing to pay the price of a designer dress when they saw it worn on a figure that looked like their own.
“My study found that women increased their purchase intentions by more than 200 percent when the models in the mock ads were their size,” he said to NY Daily News. His study shows the differences were even greater with women over size 6 with a 300 percent increase.
Looks like a lot of businesses are missing the mark with consumers. “Contrary to long-held marketing wisdom, fashion ads don’t need to lead women to aspire to an unattainable ideal to sell products,” he said.
Barry notes that the issue isn’t just about self-esteem, for women it’s just practical. Women like seeing how clothes will look and hang on a figure that’s close to their own. And this also includes the age and race of the model. African American women are 1.5 times more likely to make a purchase they saw modeled on a black woman while women over the age of 35 are 200 percent more likely to buy a dress shown on an older model.
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The Versailles models of 1973 were honored last night at the Huffington Post Game Changers Awards last night. Why is this important and who are the Versailles models, you ask?
The 11 African-Americans models were part of the legendary Grand Divertissement à Versailles fashion show held in 1973 at the Palace of Versailles to raise money for its restoration. It featured 5 American designers (Halston, Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Anne Klein, and African-American designer Stephen Burrows) and 5 French designers including Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior’s head designer Marc Bohan, Hubert de Givenchy, Emanuel Ungaro and Pierre Cardin.
Back then, it was rare to see Black women modeling on the catwalk but the American designers decided to take advantage of the international spotlight and make a statement about diversity. They hired 11 Black models to walk their shows, while the French used not a single one.
Those 11 include Pat Cleveland, Bethann Hardison, Billie Blair, Jennifer Brice, Alva Chinn, Norma Jean Darden, Charlene Dash, Barbara Jackson, China Machado, Ramona Saunders, and Amina Warsuma.
Even though diversity on the runway has improved over the years, just how much has it improved? There are still cries over the lack of diversity in the fashion industry. Chime in Madames!
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by Selam Aster
There’s a reason that accusing someone of “saying one thing and doing another” is such a popular insult. It encapsulates being fake, hypocritical, and inauthentic. And unfortunately, that applies to the uber-producer and artist Kanye West. I’ve never taken him too seriously. I know that as much as he will stand up for Black victims of Hurricane Katrina one day, he’ll turn around and worship at the temple of the Kardashians the next. He’s inconsistent, I get that.
But amid the heels of the very political and black power sentiments in “Watch The Throne,”a collabo with Mr. All-Black himself Jay-Z, West’s blatant ignorance of his power and influence as evidenced in his debut fashion show at Paris Fashion Week is disturbing. Out of about 12 models who donned his women’s wear line, there were only two black faces. Seriously. Seriously??
It’s amazing that something so simple as expressing your supposed love of black culture by hiring your sistas to represent on the runway is lost on Mr. West. To him I say: you can talk about changing the world all day, you can rap about police discrimination all day, about how you were unfairly berated for insulting Taylor swift because you’re a black man, etc, but when it comes down to it, you’re just another gatekeeper yourself. Your small actions are just as important as your bold lyrics. And in this case, you could’ve made a small yet influential decision by telling (because you are indeed the boss) your fashion scout to hire black models.
West’s lack of action and indifference makes me question if all his sentiments about race amount to little more than adding a surprise factor to his music. On one of WTT’s best tracks, “Murder to Excellence,” Yaye raps about the lack of Black figures at the top:
Yeah it’s all messed up when it’s nowhere to go
So we won’t take the time out ’til we reach the T-O-P
From parolees to hold G’s, sold keys, low keys
We like the promised land of the OG’s
In the past if you picture events like a black tie
What the last thing you expect to see, black guys?
Hmm…what’s the last thing you expect to see on the runway Yeezy? Black girls. But yeah, you could’ve changed that reality by speaking a few words.
What do you think? Should we take Yeezy’s lyrics to heart? Or should we just accept it as entertainment?
(CNN) — Can beauty be defined by age, gender, color, body shape or size? Who gets to decide? Multibillion-dollar beauty and fashion industries both shape and depend on the cult-like worship of what physical attributes the public sees as beautiful. And most women feel the effects of those decisions. The photo exhibition “Beauty Culture” at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, with 175 pictures by iconic photographers, is aimed at starting people thinking and talking about female beauty. It also peeks into the underbelly of the beauty industry, including its relation to celebrity, plastic surgery, the faux-perfection of airbrushing of advertising and even child beauty pageants. There are a lot of hot-button issues as to how the media and the beauty and fashion worlds depict whole groups of people, why they show them in a particular way or barely notice them at all. However, there’s been a major shift when it comes to diversity in beauty advertising and magazine beauty editorial spreads.
(Newsweek) — Bethann Hardison, a model turned fashion-industry entrepreneur and activist, says things have improved since 2007, when she held a series of seminars and discussions with design houses and agencies pressing for more minority models, but “we’re still not where we need to be.” Edwing D’Angelo is a young black/Latino designer who recently presented his exuberant women’s and men’s collections at the Waldorf-Astoria in a show that featured a striking array of Asian, Hispanic, black, and white models. He says ethnic models face the same obstacles as minority designers, especially when it comes to being featured in print: “They suffer from the looking-alike syndrome,” he says, referring to designers and fashion publications. “They’ll say, ‘We already have that look’ … as if you can only have one ethnic model—never mind the presence of a hundred blondes.”
In modern times, we can reflect on those who standout as fashion legends…Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Alek Wek, Selita Ebanks are just some of the black supermodels who have achieved mainstream success. At least one or most of us agree that we’ve tried modeling and have either tried and failed or succeeded, and realized that fashion is truly a dog-eat-dog business! Despite our feats, we cannot ignore those firsts who changed the fashion industry and paved the way for black women. Behold the legendary fashionistas on our list: Read the rest of this entry »
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By Keli Goff of TheLoop21
I’ve written before about the myriad of hopes and expectations many of us placed on President Obama’s shoulders following his election. Our wish list ran the gamut from the policy arena—will he save the economy—to the arena of race. This perhaps, more than any other is the domain in which our expectations were the most unrealistic and unfair both to him, and to ourselves. After all he’s not a genie in a bottle granting wishes and you can’t solve three centuries of tragedy and conflict in one presidential administration. But that didn’t stop many of us from wishing nonetheless. Would we begin to see more black elected officials? Would we begin to see more black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies? Would we see more black boys embrace education as a more viable path to success than the NBA? The answer to all of the above, so far, unfortunately appears to be no.* But one area in which “The Obama Effect” just might be having an affect is the world of fashion.
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