Black Models Matter
Thursday 2nd March 2017 | Wahida
Inclusion as a slogan is very much in style today, but where is it on the catwalks?
Twenty-five percent of runways in fall 2016 lacked diversity. Big designers with their edgy pieces and crazy price tags tell us a story of power and luxury using just their clothing. Is it that power and luxury is only for white women?
Despite this, the fashion game is on the cusp of change. New York is steering the way for a more diverse and representative showcasing of new apparel. Will other brands begin to follow suit?
Of course most designers aren’t at fault and they are simply showing us their love for fashion by modelling beautifully crafted clothing on the runway. What seems to be the problem here – is a lack of inclusion. A decision made by the upper rungs of management that’s now been infused at a most basic level.
Fashion at its core is an art form, however, it is also an industry that makes around $1.2 trn in global revenue and more than $250 bn is spent every year on fashion in the USA alone. Compare this to the non-white population of an economic giant such as the USA which is around 63%. Isn’t it bad for a business to ignore an entire demographic just because they have what we might call a ‘different’ look?
With that said, this isn’t an economic issue, it’s a human one. Big brands and fashion retailers who design quality clothing, which include only/or a majority of thin, white women at its premise, are walking on a very slippery slope. Can those women who aren’t white, thin or with a socially acceptable sexual orientation pull off luxury and glamour, are they even worth it?
In 2016, Balenciaga, a Parisian fashion powerhouse had a single non-white model on its fall runway.
Change is coming. New York, a melting pot of ethnicities and cultures is leading the way in incorporating diversity with fashion. Mark Posen, a New York-based designer made a powerful statement ‘black models matter’ when he cast an inclusive group of models to show off his collection in fall 2016.
In 2017, the stunning Muslim model, Halima Aden, shook up the status quo by walking the catwalk clad in Yeezy apparel and a hijab. It’s safe to say that beauty comes in different forms.
In fact, we should be screaming this on rooftops until influential industries live up to the integration mantra that seems to be popular in style but apparently too difficult to apply.