All Articles Tagged "black models"

‘The Face’ Contestant Says She Doesn’t Consider Herself A Black Model Because She’s Fair-Skinned

March 22nd, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: Oxygen

Source: Oxygen

The lack of diversity in the fashion industry seems to be a never-ending conversation, as it appears that Black models are always being slapped in the face by casting directors and designers who make it obvious that they have a specific “Black girl quota,” which they refuse to exceed. Earlier this week, model Chanel Iman told The Sunday Times that she was no stranger to racism in the fashion world.

 “A few times I got excused by designers who told me, ‘We already found one Black girl. We don’t need you anymore.’ I felt very discouraged. When someone tells you, ‘We don’t want you because we already have one of your kind,’ it’s really sad,” she regretfully revealed.

It appears that instances such as this one have caused young, up and coming models of color to want to disassociate themselves with their ethnicity, just so that they have more of a competitive edge in the industry. It was rather heartbreaking to watch Devyn, a contestant on Naomi Campbell’s modeling competition, The Face, reveal that she doesn’t consider herself a “Black girl model,” during an interview with Wendy Williams, which was seemingly a part of one of the competitive tasks given to contestants by the show’s panelists. The first red flag that appeared during Devyn’s interview was when Wendy asked her what advantage she believed that she had over her competitor Ebony, who just so happened to have darker skin.

” I feel like I have an international look and I have a story that can relate to everyone,” Devyn replied.

While her response seemed a bit suspect and a tad slighting, the way she answered the next question was mind-boggling and sent Naomi Campbell off the edge. When Wendy asked “Is it hard to be a Black girl model?”, Devyn responded:

” I don’t really consider myself a Black girl model. I know what my ethnicity is, but I’m fair-skinned and I feel like I have an international look.”

The moment those words left Devyn’s mouth, Naomi Campbell could be heard in the background, going off.

“What the f**k does she mean? That’s a disgrace. She’s a Black girl,” Naomi said to the other judges.

Since the airing of her highly criticized comment, Devyn took to her Twitter page to apologize to offended fans and suggest that the producers over at Oxygen edited her response.

Screen shot 2013-03-22 at 10.41.19 AM Screen shot 2013-03-22 at 10.41.34 AM Screen shot 2013-03-22 at 10.41.48 AM

Is “international look” the new code word for fair enough to pass the brown paper bag test?

Turn the page for footage of the interview. What are your thoughts on this? Was Devyn’s response misinterpreted? 

‘A Fashion Show Doesn’t Necessarily Need To Represent Reality:’ Top Designers Called Out For Lack Of Black Runway Models

March 20th, 2013 - By madamenoire
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

From StyleBlazer

BuzzFeed delved into the issue of certain designers having runways filled with only white models, by talking to five known casting directors in the industry. Raf Simon’s who heads Christian Dior was the main culprit having virtually colorless shows, since taking over in April 2012.

To his defense, the designer is not the actual person to cast the shows, but he does have sway on the women chosen. Allegedly Maida Gregori Boina and Rami Fernandes – who also do Calvin Klein and Jil Sander’s stark white shows—are the ones who work with Dior.

“I feel we’ve made strides in the past three to four years, thanks to people like [former model] Bethann Hardison, but this season in particular was one of the worst seasons in terms of diversity,” said James Scully, the casting director for Tom Ford, Jason Wu, Derek Lam, Stella McCartney, Lanvin and Carolina Herrera.


Where Are All the Black Models? Diversity Is Missing from ‘T’ Mag & The Catwalk

February 19th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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The Marc Jacobs Fall 2013 fashion show last week. AP Photo/Kathy Willens

The Marc Jacobs Fall 2013 fashion show last week. AP Photo/Kathy Willens

The new editor of The New York Times’ T magazine had to respond to a discussion that began after the latest issue of the fashion supplement reached readers this weekend. People remarked that the issue was noticeably monochromatic, with lots and lots (and lots) of white models. One reader, Susan Clark of Annandale, VA, said very specifically, “I assume the ads cannot be controlled, but I saw only one African-American and one Asian-American among the thousands of models in the ads. The T doesn’t look like my neighborhood or America.” OK!

Editor Deborah Needleman, recently of The Wall Street Journal responded. “It was something I noticed and regretted as we were putting the issue together. We are a global magazine and so would like the content , subjects and geography of stories to reflect that,” she began.

“A majority of fashion models are still unfortunately mostly white, but it is our aim to celebrate quality and beauty in all its diverse forms.”

To that end, Jezebel took a look at the level of diversity on the New York Fashion Week catwalks and it was notably lacking. According to numbers the site gathered, covered 151 shows with 4,479 looks. Of those, 3,706 — or 82.7 percent — were worn by white models. Asian models wore 9.1 percent of the looks (409), black models wore 270 looks, or six percent. And non-white Latina models wore two percent of the looks, or 90 of them.

J.Crew, Badgley Mischka, Diane von Furstenberg, Rebecca Taylor, and Zac Posen were among the designers who did feature models of color, while Calvin Klein and Juicy Couture were among those that had no models of color. Overall, there was less diversity on the runways this year than last.

The site, which has been tracking these numbers for five years, says that, within the industry, this preference for white models drives down pay for those who do get jobs, and makes it particularly difficult for the models of color who are vying for the few spots available. But there are larger implications also.

“And outside the industry — because the models who rise to the top of the heap doing runway are the models who go on to do the magazine covers, the cosmetics campaigns, the luxury brand ads, the billboards, and the TV commercials that girls all over the world can’t help but grow up consuming — it promotes the idea that beauty means having white skin,” the site says.

The fashion industry, known for boundless diversity in its creativity, must recognize the diversity in humans and celebrate it along with their designs.


Joan Smalls Covers Vogue Italia, First Woman of Color in 4 Years

February 27th, 2012 - By Veronica Wells
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Well isn’t she a sight to behold! This pretty young thing is none other than Puerto Rican beauty, Joan Smalls. Smalls is a pretty big deal considering she’s the first woman of color to cover Vogue Italia in four years. While this is definitely a side eye moment for Vogue Italia, (four years, really?) we’re certainly proud of Smalls’ accomplishments.

Photographed by Steven Miesel for his “Haute Mess” spread, you can catch Smalls on the March issue of the book.

Smalls tweeted about her cover saying:

OMG! Woke up this morning and saw this. Dreams do come true…

That’s inspiring.

Are you feeling the cover?


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Are Ethiopian Models Over-Represented In The Modeling Industry?

February 23rd, 2012 - By MN Editor
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"liya kebede"


By H. Fields Grenée

I’ve never really thought much of beauty. As an African American female raised among an extended family where every skin tone, eye color and hair texture was represented – beauty was a rich texture of various shades.

Maybe this is why writing an article about the perceived increase in use of Ethiopian models by advertisers to appeal to the African buying audience seemed an easy task. But in actuality the subject proved to be a scorching hot potato issue. Few if any wanted to discuss the topic openly because it scratched the surface of an uncomfortable dilemma.

Since the early seventies, marketing budgets spent to attract African American consumers has steadily increased. Commercial plot lines went from rarely showing minorities to, in many cases, showcasing them, or more accurately – pushing an encapsulated ideal minority.

“With the recent interest in Ethiopian women, or women from the “horn” more broadly, it is amazing how almost blatantly Social Darwinist ideas get espoused,” noted Professor Davarian L. Baldwin, a Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies at Trinity College, who focuses on African Diaspora issues.

“So in the case of Ethiopian women, I hear talk about an “Ethiopian” skin tone, facial features, and bone structure. I hear so much about the beautiful skin of Ethiopians, not in terms of blemishes or smoothness but because it is seen as the perfect balance between darker sub-Saharan Africans and whiter Caucasians,” said Baldwin. “I also hear they are the perfect beauty blend because of their brown skin and yet long (more Caucasian-looking) hair.”

Though Baldwin purports “ideal beauty standards” for any ethnic group are ridiculous, his research clearly shows that “dominant” beauty types within groups both emerge and tend to change over time.

He notes an example of this found in the shift in Italian beauty standards from Sophia Loren, a “southern” Italian beauty of the ’60s revered for her smoky full-figured “dark” look versus the now popular fair-skinned, blond waif. Then there is the ever evolving face of Jennifer Lopez. Since first garnering attention in the late ’80s as a dancer on In Living Color, she has softened her look, lightened her hair and become the benchmark for “voluptuous” curves in Hollywood.

“To be sure something must be made of personal choice,” contends Baldwin, “but it seems far from coincidental that (JLo’s) personal choices move her closer and closer to the dominant beauty standards of U.S. media outlets as she has grown in “acceptance.”

“Yes the phrase ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder may be true,’” he says, “but it’s also true that beauty standards have emerged based on the repeated dissemination of certain types and the pay scales and contracts given to models based on particular features.”

25 Black Models That Changed the Game

February 17th, 2012 - By MN Editor
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Before Chanel Iman appeared on the covers of American Vogue and Italian Elle, and before Jourdan Dunn became the first black model to walk Prada’s runway in over a decade, women like Donyale Luna, Naomi Sims and Beverly Johnson strutted and posed confidently in the face of adversity.

In honor of Black History Month, we take a look back at 25 African-American models who have helped to reshape the standard of beauty.

Check out the 25 models who set the standard at Black


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5 Black Professionals to Watch During Fashion Week

February 14th, 2012 - By MN Editor
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While blacks might not always have the best representation on the runways, they are definitely making moves in the fashion industry.

Black Enterprise interviewed everyone from photographers, to models to designers about how they got to the industry, advice they picked up along the way and how they do what they do.

Check them out at Black

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French Celebs Tell Elle to Actually Learn Black Fashion

February 2nd, 2012 - By Brande Victorian
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A little over a week ago, a writer for French Elle wrote a blog post narrating the American “black-geoisie’s” adoption of white codes of fashion to go from street to chic. The piece didn’t go over so well here, and it obviously didn’t well with French natives who have written an open letter, calling the magazine out on it’s carelessness and lack of black representation.

The letter, published in Le Monde, was written by a group of black French celebrities including supermodel Noémie Lenoir, Cahiers du Cinéma critic Vincent Malausa, and Morehouse College’s Julius E. Coles. Here’s what it says:

“Elle magazine informs us that in fashion, in 2012, “the ‘black-geoisie’ has finally integrated white codes” of dress. Moreover, “chic has at last become a plausible option for a community that previously knew only streetwear.” While for decades blacks were dressed as hoodie-clad “thugs” [Translation note: cailleras, the word given here as “thugs,” intentionally recalls “racaille,” the derogatory term infamously used by then-interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy to describe the banlieue rioters of 2005, which is most often translated as “scum”], they have finally understood, through the education of white people, that they must pay more attention to their appearance.

“It is high time for the editors of Elle to venture out of their glass-enclosed headquarters in the business district of Levallois-Perret to mix with the population, to see what black people are really like, and how they dress in real life. It is also time for them to realize that there are many black women in France. Black people do not all live in the United States, and they are not all pop singers, film actors, and sport stars.

“Why not,” asks the open letter, “hire some black editors? Call us crazy, but why not have a black woman on the cover? Just for once.”‘

Tell ’em how you really feel.

The authors clearly have several good arguments and, as has been pointed out on numerous sites, French Elle is a weekly magazine—out of 52 cover opportunities, it shouldn’t be hard to find black models to fill the space. In 2011, only two non-white models covered the mag, and considering the publication is keen on placing white American models on it’s cover, it could certainly give a top black American woman cover space, since they love to write about them so much.

What do you think about this letter? Will it make any difference?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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Check Out Kenzo’s Spring Line Complete with Black Models

February 1st, 2012 - By MN Editor
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Parisian fashion house Kenzo recently came under new direction. So they’re stepping outside of the box with their latest fashion spread for their Spring line.

We’re seeing a lot of brown skin and we’re certainly not mad about it.

Get more info about the line and the models in the spread at

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FashizBlack Publishes their First Print Issue

January 11th, 2012 - By MN Editor
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This formerly digital book is finally hitting the streets! Fashizblack Magazine will print its first hard copy issue ever. It will hit stands tomorrow, January 12, 2012.

Check out some of the magazines most popular covers at our sister site


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