All Articles Tagged "models of color"
Report: More Models of Color on NYFW Runways, Still Only 8.1 Percent of “Looks” Worn By Black Models
Jezebel has done an exhaustive analysis of the 143 shows and live presentations that took place during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and found that there were more models of color walking the runways than years past. Still, the overwhelming percentage of models (79.4 percent) were white. That means that, of the 4708 “looks” shown, 3,736 were worn by white models.
Fewer than 10 percent (8.1 percent, to be precise) were black. Asian models actually came in second with 10.1 percent representation, followed by Latinas at 1.9 percent and finally, the elusive “others” were .5 percent.
“These results may be partly attributed to the season, because one trend that is apparent in our data is the preference for slightly more models of color at the spring-summer collections and slightly fewer at the fall-winter collections, which may be due to a belief on the part of casting directors that darker skin tones suit the bright colors of spring clothes better than they do fall’s more somber hues,” the site reports, based on off-the-record sources.
Still, six percent of shows had no models of color and 20 percent had three or fewer. Among the more diverse shows were Tracy Reese, Jason Wu, Ralph Lauren and Betsey Johnson.
Even before the Jezebel report, The Wall Street Journal was crowing about the diversity on the runways, using as an example Singapore-born Prabal Gurung, who gave the quote that pretty much sums up the whole issue: “Beauty is beauty.” In terms of race, he says he’s also looking to provide role models for his niece.
But ultimately, it’s about the market. That Journal story goes on to talk about the huge Chinese luxury market and how the desire to appeal to it played a role in the increased number of Asian models participating in NYFW. (If that’s something you’d like more info about, read Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster which has a stunning section about the shopping habits of this growing market.)
The top Asian model was Liu Wen, who walked in 21 shows. Cora Emmanuel topped the list for black models, walking in 17 shows. Number two on Jezebel’s list is Joan Smalls with 14 shows. She’s originally from Puerto Rico.
Overall, the fashion consumer is a diverse one, and the industry should recognize that and reflect it in its shows. With a more diverse crop of young designers coming up through the ranks, a more mixed group of models will likely be coming to the catwalk soon.
Models from Africa are seizing their moment.
By Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond
When the Somali makeup mogul Iman did her first shoot for Vogue in 1976 as a model, she paved the way for the international wave of black girls you see today. From supermodel Louise Vyent in the ’80s to the current Sudanese superstar Alek Wek, these African beauties further laid the foundation for fashion’s current African “moment.” Now, African women are among modeling’s most desired faces. Zandile Blay, editor of AfricaStyleDaily.com and a Huffington Post columnist, likens the recent rise of African girls to the popularity Eastern European models have enjoyed for the last two decades. Yet Blay is cautious. “Make no mistake,” the Ghanaian-American style guru said. “We are by no means fully represented in the rank and file of top models. But from the catwalks of Paris to the lookbooks of New York’s hottest designers, African models are a presence as never before.” Even more encouraging? The many “African” looks being promoted are “a beautiful representation of [our] diversity,” according to Ethiopian model Gelila Bekele. Here are the top 11 African models showing the world how beautiful black truly is.
The Super Woman: Liya Kebede
People toss the word “supermodel” around flippantly, but true “supers” boast an enviable resume that includes covers, contracts, and campaigns—coupled with the honor of opening and closing key runway shows. Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kebede has done it all from covering Vogue, Essence, Harper’s Bazaar, and i-D to starring in campaigns for Gap, Lord & Taylor, and Ann Taylor, plus nabbing a lucrative Estee Lauder contract. She is now the face of L’Oreal, and in ’08 earned a Forbes shout-out as the 15th highest-paid model. The former face of Yves Saint Laurent, she has also represented the World Health Organization as a Goodwill Ambassador. Kebede continues to model even as she runs her eponymous foundation and pursues a career in acting. Her onscreen credits include cameos in The Good Shepherd and Lord of War. Most recently she starred in Desert Flower, a biopic based on the memoir of fellow African model, Waris Dirie.
It’s nice to know that someone, besides the culturally-focused publications, is noticing how diversity, or the lack thereof, is playing out in varying environments from corporate offices to fashion runways. As New York Fashion Week recently wrapped up, the sister site of the popular gossip website Gawker broke down the number of ethnic models on the runway, asserting that the composition of the models determines the composition of editorial spreads and magazine advertisements for the season to come. We applaud Jezebel for taking a stand for diversity.
To read more about diversity in fashion, visit Jezebel.com.