Franca Sozzani of Italian Vogue loves to blog, and in her latest piece she talks about racism in fashion. She says, “There isn’t a problem [with racism] and it’s not a problem in fashion either. There is no discrimination. I’ve explained many times this argument in my posts, in December for example when the Washington Post mentioned Vogue and Vogue.it as a publication that cares for black girls, and comparing the great success of Eastern models to the lack of black models in the industry. Prejudice? Absolutely not.”
She continues, “Iman, Naomi, Liya Kebede, Alek Wek and many others are a proof. We continue to give it more space in the magazine and website. The truth is that real beauty doesn’t care for skin color or nationality.”
Hmm. It’s hard to say if there is racism or not. Models have certainly started to shine a little brighter. As far as editors and designers are concerned, I think the advent of internet and the rise of influential bloggers has forced the industry to be more democratic and more inclusive. I also have to shout out pioneers like Franca who actually hire black writers (like myself *ahem*), and allow them access to shows and opportunities that seemed unavailable before.
As I said in the Washington Post article Franca mentioned (or tried to say), a change is coming because of a handful of people like her. But I don’t think inclusiveness is industry wide. While there is a sea of brown in the tents during New York Fashion Week, I must say it’s still a little lonely over in Europe. A typical show will have 5-10 people of color out of say..200?
I think the industry is changing very slowly, but as a person of color you have to work twice as hard to slip in. But when was that not the case?
What do you guys think?
Read more of Franca’s blog here.