Apparently approximately 90% of models cast during Fall 2013 fashion week were white, with New York designers casting even more caucasian women than previous seasons. Befuddled by this lack of diversity, Buzzfeed contributing writer James Lim contacted 5 top casting directors to get to the bottom of the issue.
A few snippets:
James Kelly, Casting Director for Tom Ford, Jason Wu, Derek Lam, Stella McCartney, and more said, “[The problem comes from] a mixture of things. The stylist has a lot of say though. Obviously, the blame can’t be put on the stylist alone, but the designer is taking the cue from somebody. I just think it’s weird how people are constantly saying, “But it’s about who the girl is and her character.” A fashion show is not a story book. A great model is a great model and no matter who she is she can take on any role. I don’t understand why only white girls could be that sort of gin-soaked boozy girl in Louis Vuitton this season. A character can be multicultural. We live in a multicultural world. At this point, it’s almost irresponsible not to represent that on the runway. I have millions of friends from all over the world and if they don’t seen themselves in the product, they don’t buy it.”
Jennifer Starr, Casting Director for Ralph Lauren, Ohne Titel, and GAP said, “Some designers are not paying attention to being inclusive and just cast woman they love, which they really cannot be criticized for. I do think casting directors have a responsibility to have the conversation, elevate awareness, and find their clients the best models out there for them, regardless of ethnicity.”
John Pfeiffer, casting Director for Michael Kors, Bottega Veneta, Donna Karan, Diane Von Furstenberg, and The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show wrote, ” When casting for the runway you want the models selected to be cohesive as a group both in mood and spirit. That being said, I’m not the kind of casting director that goes for a homogeneous aesthetic. Maybe that look works for certain shows, but I generally find it to be bland and boring…Fashion exists in a space that is about what’s next and what’s new. Certainly designers such as Yves Saint Laurent can be credited with making major strides in diversity — but I’m more interested in how that carries over into today. How can we as a community create a bold, empowering, and inclusive aesthetic? It’s something that is always on my mind.”
Lastly, Barbara Nicoli & Leila Ananna, Casting Directors for Burberry, Marchesa, Gucci, Emilio Pucci, Armani Privé & Saint Laurent, weighed in, with Nicole saying, “I love Asian girls, but there was a moment when designers decided to put a lot of Asian girls just because of the Asian market was strong and they gave a lot of money to designers… I think the designer has to decide who is good for their collection and the role of the casting director is to suggest appropriate models. We have to make a proper selection for our clients. It’s also true that, for example, caucasians have a specific body type, black girls have a specific body shape, and Asian girls have a specific body shape. So I guess there are some collections where it’s more perfect for an Asian body shape because they are more flat and less sexy, in a way. “
Ananna added, “Sometimes we work with more curvy girls and others with a very androgynous type. We worked on casting with a strong direction, like all blond girls or all brunette, for example. Or other girls who are very similar, if that helps to make the collection concept stronger. We think we need to keep in mind that these are shows. A show needs to make you dream and it doesn’t necessarily need to represent reality.”
So I guess in a fantastical dream world, brown people don’t exist?
What do you think of their explanations?
See the rest of the article here. It’s a good read!
Thanks to reader Keisha who sent us a link!