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Is Skin Color Still An Issue in Fashion ?

Franca Sozzani Editor in Chief of Italian Vogue wrote a post about the issues of skin color within the fashion industry stating “ImanNaomiLiya KebedeAlec Wek and many others are a proof” and “The truth is that real beauty doesn’t care for skin color or nationality.”

Is there racism in the fashion industry no, but is there still an issue of race yes.  We live in a world where people of various ethnic backgrounds support and purchase items from major fashion houses and it’s time that these houses bring something new to the table by adding new faces to their fashion show line ups and campaigns. The most recent company to add a new dimension to their campaign is Burberry, Jourdan Dunn and Sacha M’Baye were featured in the Spring 2011 Campaign. Creative director Christopher Bailey stated ” We wanted to create a dynamic, evolving campaign that reflects the diversity of our broad global consumer, revealing new British cast members each month, all with their own identity, embodying the different attitudes of the Burberry guy and girl.”

This is what I would love to see more of which is taking place but in small steps i.e Joan Smalls (Puerto Rican) is the face of Estee Lauder along side Liu Wen (Chinese). Joan also landed a Gucci, Roberto Cavalli and Stella McCartneycampaign this season. Arlenis Sosa is a spokes model for Lancome and many more non European models are making their mark in fashion world.

Europeans and people of European descent are the dominant force within the fashion industry so it’s logical that they will choose women from their ethnic/national backgrounds to model and be in editorial/fashion shows/campaigns.   More black women and men need to become involved in fashion in terms of  designing clothing, photography, makeup artist etc and create companies so that they can employee black models which will create a demand for more models of non European backgrounds.  Iman is a perfect example because her cosmetics company Iman Cosmetics employs women of various ethnic backgrounds.

Ultimately we all play a part at contributing to the diversity of fashion by investing and creating new fashion magazines, fashion houses, fashion events so that fashion spectators can view the beauty of women from all corners of the globe.

View Fanca Sozzani’s original post “Is the color of skin still an issue in fashion” here.

Image credit all photos on Beauty Is Diverse

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4 comments… add one

  • Nhlabangana February 8, 2011, 6:48 pm

    Yes, Tiffany colour will be an issue until we get to see Fashion shows where models of all shades are equally represented rather than a few token faces. It will be an issue as long as we hear stories of clients telling models we don’t use black girls, it will be an issue if agents and clients are looking black girls who look like white girls dipped in chocolate… I am not trying to take anything away from what has been done so far , Yes we should celebrate but should we and stop debating and talking relax and just because there are more Black and Asian faces – NO!!!. I am so proud of girls like Ajak, Joan , Arlenis & Lui Wen , but for one of them how many white models are out there!! Not everyone will be a supermodel granted but we deserve a fair chance and I don’t think everyone has gotten to the point where they are willing to judge us on how hard we work… This argument applies to the size issue too. Thanks for the post !!!

  • Nhlabangana February 8, 2011, 6:48 pm

    Yes, Tiffany colour will be an issue until we get to see Fashion shows where models of all shades are equally represented rather than a few token faces. It will be an issue as long as we hear stories of clients telling models we don’t use black girls, it will be an issue if agents and clients are looking black girls who look like white girls dipped in chocolate… I am not trying to take anything away from what has been done so far , Yes we should celebrate but should we and stop debating and talking relax and just because there are more Black and Asian faces – NO!!!. I am so proud of girls like Ajak, Joan , Arlenis & Lui Wen , but for one of them how many white models are out there!! Not everyone will be a supermodel granted but we deserve a fair chance and I don’t think everyone has gotten to the point where they are willing to judge us on how hard we work… This argument applies to the size issue too. Thanks for the post !!!

  • Layla34 February 9, 2011, 7:40 pm

    Hi, love your blog, just wanted to point out some things:

    1) Franca is incorrect in her article, when she points out Sir Venkata Raman and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar as black leaders in their field. Both are Indian I believe.

    2) It is more than a black issue however, there are not many Latina, Native American, Indian or even Filipina faces on the catwalk. While there have been some more Asian girls on the runway, the same problem occurs, the designers always have a token Asian girl (Liu Wen or Tao) and a token black girl (Arlenis/Iman).

    That’s why the fashion world needs to be more like this blog!

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Beauty Is Diverse was created in December 2009 to showcase the diversity of women from various ethnic backgrounds working as models in the fashion industry. Beauty Is Diverse takes an in-depth look at models from South America…

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