All Articles Tagged "racism in fashion"

Naomi Campbell Talks Racism In Fashion And Mentoring Young Models

October 4th, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Naomi Campbell

The beautiful Naomi Campbell graced the cover of a recent issue of Net-a-Porter. Inside, the 43-year-old knockout discusses racism in the fashion world, why she mentors models and Nelson Mandela. Catch a few of her interview highlights below.

On mentoring models:

“I want people to really understand what the world of modeling is about, and how hard we work. I like the mentoring aspect, as opposed to sitting in my chair and judging someone. It’s really rewarding to see the models transformed and it makes me feel like I’m doing something right.”

On racism in fashion:

“I do think there is still racism. Joan Smalls and Jourdan Dunn and I speak with each other and, sometimes, I’m a little horrified with the things they tell me.”

On how she stays in fit:

“Since I had my operation on my knee [in 2012, after being reportedly mugged], Pilates has become very important. I don’t want to build muscle, just to tone. I’m not extreme about what I eat – I let chocolate and crisps come in at times. You have to allow the little things that make you happy. For ten days prior to the Versace show, I just drank juice – carrot, ginger, pineapple – to cleanse.”

On Nelson Mandela:

“There will never be anyone like him again. When you meet him, you just get such a positive aura. It’s incredible.”

On building industry relationships:

“I LEARNED something from each photographer I WORKED with, their different styles and how they WANTED me to be.”

Watch footage from Naomi’s shoot below. Click to the next page for photos.

André Leon Talley Speaks On The Elephants On Fashion’s Runways: Racism And Sizeism

August 9th, 2013 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Source: Bridow/

Source: Bridow/


From StyleBlazer 

The old, ‘there’s not enough people of color’ in fashion feels like a dead horse that keeps getting beaten with each new headline announcing the obvious omission. But if that is the case, then every blackface ad campaign or editorial, or article that has to out-rightly triumph the appointment of a person of color to a lead editorial position—because the occasion is so few and far between—is the proverbial water that keeps giving the aforementioned horse life.

The recently published an article, “Fashion’s Blind Spot,” analyzing fashion’s persistent, and even worsening, racist practices despite the dialogue on it that was opened 5 years ago, stemming from the lack of women of color on the high fashion runways. The NYT reports that black models only accounted for 6% of those cast during last season’s fashion week—a noticeable decline from the previous season’s 8.1%. It was also only yesterday that reported on former US Vogue fixture (and bestie to Anna Wintour) André Leon Talley’s comments made about racism in the fashion industry in an upcoming issue of Vanity Fair.

Fashionista reports that according to Talley, “He admits to wondering why, with such a packed résumé, he’s never been the editor of a major magazine” and says, “People stereotype you. What person of color do you know who’s in a position like that, be it a man or a woman, unless it’s Essence magazine?” Well, it’s about 3 now? Keija Minor made the news last summer for becoming the first person of color to hold an editor-in-chief title for a Condé Nast publication. She was name the EIC of Brides magazine. Since then, Elaine Welteroth became the health and beauty director of Teen Vogue, while Shiona Turini was just named the new fashion market director of Cosmopolitan less than two weeks ago. Yea, that’s three; three in over a hundred years.

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Blackface In 2013? White Model Poses In Editorial Spread Titled, “African Queen”

February 25th, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: Numero

If you thought the days of Blackface were over, you are sadly mistaken. International fashion magazine, Numéro recently printed a two-page editorial entitled, “African Queen”, in which 16-year-old Caucasian model, Ondria Hardrin is depicted wearing heavy bronzer, as if the publication was attempting to pass her off as Black and many are wondering why? Why didn’t Numéro just hire a Black model?

Jezebel revealed that the same agency that represents Hardrin also represents several Black models. It’s unfortunate when Black models aren’t even considered for jobs that common sense would make most assume are for them.

“why hire a black model when you could just paint a white one!” blog Foudre said of the ridiculous spread.’

Now we won’t play ignorant, we know that there are White people living in Africa as well, but according to the Huffington Post, Ondria is from North Carolina and judging by the heavy amount of bronzer that she is wearing in the spread, it seems quite clear that the glossy was attempting to have her to appear “darker” than what she actually is.

I suppose this only serves as a reflection of the scarce number of Black models who are employed by the fashion industry. Jezebel recently reported that this past New York Fashion Week, 82.7% of the participating models were White, while only 6% were Black.

No one can say whether or not Numéro meant any harm by the model that they selected for the spread, but it appears to be the message that it sends to Black models and the world in general that people are finding to be offensive.

What are your thoughts on this?

How Black Designers, Models Are Fighting to Stay in Fashion

September 18th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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Republished from The Grio

As New York’s fashion week comes to a close, fashion lovers are reflecting on the continued lack of diversity inside the fashion world. Still, there are some signs of progress, which is evidenced by a growing number of black designers many of whom try to utilize models of color.

Ayaan and Idyl Mohallim are identical twins and they are also budding fashion designers. The sisters launched their fashion line, Mataano, which means twins in Somali in 2008. The Somalia born, Washington, D.C.-bred duo says that they started their line because of a simple love for fashion but soon began seeing themselves as an example for other aspiring designers, and as business owners who could help employ models of color.

Idyl says, “We always try to represent the multicultural world we live in; fashion publications and fashion shows routinely portray the world as nearly mono-racial. For this reason we always use black, Spanish, white and Asian models. Sometimes, you feel pressure to use white models so that your brand will be more mainstream, but we’ve decided we’d rather use diverse models and grow organically than to succumb to the pressure of using white models in order to gain more appeal.”

LaMont Jones a longtime fashion journalist has attended over 1,300 fashion shows during New York’s spring and fall fashion weeks over the course of the last 23 seasons. Jones says as far as he’s concerned black designers have always done a good job of being inclusive. “While a white designer can send out a lot of white models and not a single black model, a black model can’t send out a whole bunch of black models and no white models without there being a problem.”

That problem Jones says is that without diverse lineups on the catwalks, black designers will be pigeonholed as black designers, and therefore not be able to appeal to a diverse clientele. He uses famed designer Tracy Reeseas an example of a black designer who has used black models, but whose been able to maintain favorability with diverse audiences. Jones editor of The Style Arbiter says that white designers don’t necessarily face the same pressures. “I did see black models in appreciable number at a lot of shows, but still at some shows there were none.”

He says this omission has to be intentional, because he says it’s impossible for a designer to not know that all their models are of one race. “If it’s not intentional, it won’t happen, and if there’s not any consequences then it will continue to happen,” he adds.

Ayaan says black models are readily available for fashion shows and magazine spreads, “I think there’s so many beautiful black models and for us with the agencies we use, it really hasn’t been a problem.”

While more black models are making it to the catwalk, there’s another concern about whether these same models will make it from the fashion shows and onto the pages of fashion magazines.

Earlier this summer there was a great deal of controversy when Essence magazine announced that the publication, long heralded, as the premiere publication for black women would have a white beauty director.

As a result at the start of fashion week a group of twenty-something young black woman held a demonstrationoutside the magazine’s office to protest the fact that there are no black fashion directors at Essence or any other popular beauty or lifestyle magazines.

The group cited as one of their motivators writer, and cultural critic, Michaela Angela Davis, who strongly opposed the Essence’s move. Davis a former Essence staffer wrote of her pride on her Twitter account the day of the march, “These young women are paying homage to the women who opened the door for them and reminding this generation not to close it. They look amazing.”

Jones, who for a decade was the fashion editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, says despite the magazine’s contention that it doesn’t in any way lessen ability to be a quality publication; it’s an issue of perception. “It makes no sense that of all the gifted black fashion writers and editors, black women in particular, and I could rattle off a bunch of them on one hand, that they could not hire a black woman for that fashion director.”

He also says that because a fashion director helps decide what designers are highlighted, what models are used, what photographers are used, and help make other major decisions blacks in those positions are necessary.

Jones’ years covering fashion alongside some of the best gave him an up close look at the work of many fashion journalists. He cites The Houston Chronicle’s Joy Sewing, the Philadelphia Enquirer’s Elizabeth Wellington, and the St. Louis Post Dispatch’s Debra Bass, and Karyn Collins formerly of the Asbury Park Press of veteran fashion journalists who would have been well suited for the Essence position.

The Mohallim sisters say those who want to see more opportunities for black models and designers have to show the industry that diversity matters.

“Consumers can demand the Council of Fashion Designers in America (CFDA) become more accountable and step up its efforts to bring diversity to the industry,” Ayaan Mohallim says.

For his part Jones says that he also thinks the celebrities who often attend fashion week shows can take a stand. “Some of these celebrities who sit in the front row of shows can not support designers who don’t use models of color.”

He also applauds those celebrities who have become involved with fashion from a creative or ownership perspective knowing. He says those who’ve been successful with creating lines and showcasing diverse talent are helping change the fashion industry for the better.

“When it comes to marketing, magazine placement, all these other things that affect your bottom line some designers feel they have to compromise, and some won’t compromise,” he says.

For the Mohallim sisters there is no compromising. The sisters’ hard work is paying off here in the states and abroad where they also have an audience. In the near future they’ll conduct a four-nation tour in Africa showcasing their latest work.