Since fashion week in February, I’ve come across a few articles discussing diversity in fashion. In particular, I found it interesting that top models Jordan Dunn and Chanel Iman have stated that they confront some discrimination, even with the level of fame they’ve both acquired at just 22 years of age. The top models have affirmed that designers have told them that they ‘didn’t need any more black girls’ or that ‘they already had one’, thus Dunn or Iman were not needed. In addition, in the Net-A-Porter’s “The Edit” feature on Dunn the week of March 21, she mentions that she even has encountered a makeup artist who did not want to work with her because Dunn was black and the makeup artist was white. Sadly, discrimination still exists for models present day, and as Jezebel mentions in a piece entitled “Fashion Week’s Models Are Getting Whiter,” all-white casts at fashion shows has increased to 9% from 6% last season. While a vast improvement from one third of shows being all white in 2007, the numbers still show that white models accounted for 82.7% of all looks shown for the FW2013 season. Some designers and casting directors suggest the lack of non-white models this Fall/Winter season is due to the fact that warm weather outfits look better on darker skin tones. In that case, we can only hope that shows the Spring/Summer shows this Fall demonstrate a rise in non-white models. The Jezebel article by Jenna Sauers also suggests that a few major non-white models did not even walk this past February. Either way, the mere figure of 17.3% non-white models is one we shouldn’t ignore and is perhaps just as concerning as the lack of presence for black designers in fashion week from season to season.
I am glad to have had the opportunity to work with a number of organizations that increase the presence of minorities in the fashion world. However, there is still work to be done. If I wasn’t as involved as I have been in recent months, I wouldn’t be so aware of the improvements being made and the platforms that exist, particularly for women of color in fashion. There are many emerging designers in New York City that are being given a chance; however, not all designers are based in New York and I’d love to find out what people are doing away from ‘the mecca’ known as New York City. Do you know any designers striving to make a major name for themselves in the DMV area? I wonder and I guess it’s time I starting looking… If you one of those people, do be sure to let me know!