"My, my, my, how the turntables" – is something Michael Scott would say looking at this headline story. And if you don't watch "The Office," you won't get this reference, but essentially, the tables on casting models have turned for the accessories brand MOGA.
The creative director and designer for MOGA, Azahn Munas, recently made the decision to eliminate white models from the brand's future promotional campaigns. Knowing that such a drastic change in policy would spark controversy, MOGA organized multiple press releases, posts from brand ambassadors, and even a video explaining their decision.
If you haven't seen the video, I highly suggest you watch it. It tackles the problem of a predominately white modeling industry and conveys the theme of cultural norms. Essentially, the video claims that whatever beauty/body standards are shown in advertisements and everyday life are the standards that the people viewing them will see as "normal."
We've seen this phenomenon happen before in the modeling industry, except last time, it was with how your body looked/your body weight. Since then, we've moved away from the skinny, 6'2" model aesthetic and into the "everybody is beautiful" motto with plus-sized models and even models with prosthetics!
Hopefully, this movement away from white-washing in the model industry will follow suit, however, I'm posed with the predicament of if the total exclusion of white models from MOGA's campaigns borders on the line of racism?
I completely and 100% agree that we need more models of color and diversity in fashion advertisements, and even in movie roles where white men/women are cast into roles that are written for specific ethnicities, but isn't excluding someone from something solely based on the color of their skin racist? If anything, I think MOGA should vow to cast more women of color and cut down on the number of roles given to Caucasians, but to completely exclude them seems a little far.
MOGA has also claimed that their accessories can be worn by any demographic, however, their no-white model policy seems to hinder that stance. Munas said his reasoning for such a decision, in an interview with "Teen Vogue," was to, "gain traction in the media to reach people around the world who are underrepresented in the fashion industry so they can be a part of our movement and help us represent them in the future."
I commend Munas and MOGA for tackling racial issues that most people wouldn't dare to touch in fear that it may hurt their brand, but in my opinion, this decision seems to be more divisive than it is inclusive. Like I said, I think every brand should strive to be diverse and add models of various shapes, sizes, colors, and ethnic backgrounds, but as all-inclusive rather than "mostly inclusive."
To read the whole interview and get more background details on just what this policy means for MOGA and the fashion industry, visit Teen Vogue!