top of page

Racism: In The Modeling Industry

There is a dilemma in the model industry. Yes, the dilemma being a noticeable shortage of ethnic models on the runways and major fashion campaigns prints across the globe! Considering that we do our research to only come up with disturbing facts that there is indeed a huge conspiracy of missing ethnic models in the industry! Naomi Campbell made a statement at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Berlin “I hope that all the designers will consider using models of color because as we seen these last two years, models of color have not been used on the runways in a very very minute way. So let’s hope that everyone can not let fashion discriminate the models and the color of the models that they use.” Its evident that ethnic models have been missing on the runway and in editorial for a long time.

When we think of black models, we think of Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell, Tyson Beckford just to name a few that have not only ripped the runway across the globe, but have gained international attention and celebrity status. Celebrity and fashion icons to feel that there should be more diversity projected in the world of fashion. Because of the shortage of ethnic models, designers such as Kimora Lee Simmons, Sean Combs, Russell Simmons and Nelly had filled the runways with ethnic male and female models that showed blacks also have what it takes to showcase beauty and talent. “I faced a kind of institutional racism within the fashion industry.

I wanted to work with Karl Lagerfield but the people in Paris said I was too ‘Exotic’, states Alek Wek on ‘Racism In Fashion’ Trailer. (Courtesy of Butterfly Models in conjunction with Mahogany Model Management.) São Paulo Fashion Week released an official statement yesterday announcing that it has signed an agreement with the São Paulo Public Ministry to fight racial discrimination on the runways. According to the agreement, São Paulo Fashion Week has the legal duty to suggest that all designers and labels include at least 10% of black or indigenous models on the castings for the shows. While SPFW cannot enforce that designers comply with the quota, the event now has to contact designers 15 days prior to the shows and suggest the booking of black models.

Now, when we look at the issue of racism in the modeling industry, you can only shake your head in shame to know that racism STILL exists even in a world of fashion and glamour. Fashion is supposed to be an art, a way of fabric expression. Since when does the free colors of fabric become a shackled and illiberal because its on someone’s skin? Especially when that same color should be in included in the fashion spectrum?

Photographer Nick Knight states “The Fashion industry and the advertising industry is steeped in racism. You just have to look around at the number of black girls you see in ads, virtually nil.” Liberal Democrat and Spokesperson Dee Doocey also states “I don’t know if it’s racism, or just the fashion industry languishing in the doldrums, but it needs to change. Agencies only seem interested in leggy blonde girls.” “I didn’t want to be labeled as a black model when I started, but now I celebrate it and see the difference.”

bottom of page