The Massive Problem Fashion Week Presents
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The Massive Problem Fashion Week Presents

Beautiful couture ensembles can't hide the racism the fashion industry seems to hold on to

The Massive Problem Fashion Week Presents

Years ago, I interned for a high fashion magazine which lead to thoughts of finishing my B.A. and then going to design school to continue my love of fashion and artistic expression. But a couple of years into working for them made me realize that all the models we talked about in these beautiful designer clothes fell under one category (for the most part). They were itty bitty skinny, mainly white, sometimes daughters/sons of famous people, but the diversity basically ended there. For every ten white models, there was one black, or one hispanic. It made me really dislike the idea of this industry and the overall pushing of malnourished models. I didn't want to immerse myself into an industry that was so body obsessed and seemingly racist.

A diversity report done on showed that in the year 2014 there were 567 white models for print cover appearances versus a shocking 119 when it came to models of color. New York Fashion Week 2015 showed an astonishing lack of ethnic diversity with 82.7% of models being white. Clearly, this isn’t a theory. It’s simply the truth. Vogue’s first black cover model, Beverly Johnson, explained her thoughts on racism in fashion. “Unfortunately, racism is still part of the conversation, and fashion is no different than any other industry. It has to change if you’re going to move forward. You don’t want to move backward. We live in a diverse world. If you’re not participating at that level, you’re not a part of the world. People need to see people as people.”

Fortunately, Asian models do seem to be in abundance at fashion shows, but the amount of Hispanic and African American women still seems to be seriously lacking. Last year’s already extremely low percentage of Latina women for the Spring/Summer 2014 season lowered even more this year from 3.19% to 2.12%. Brenda Gomez works with models often as the director of Wallflower Management, a Dallas-based modeling agency. She explains, “Once a designer or retailer makes a choice about diversifying, all will follow. This has always been an issue within our industry. There are broader implications. What’s good about a little African American or Hispanic girl growing up thinking that the beauty ideal is blonde hair and blue eyes?”

Regardless of how fashion evolves, it doesn’t change that all sizes, colors, and types of people wear clothes and enjoy following what is up and coming within the fashion world. What is important is for the fashion world to understand that hesitation and lack of diversity will only hurt it, not help it. Hopefully steps will be taken forward that propel the rest of this industry into the 21st century and allow for the understanding that, like Johnson mentioned, “people need to see people as people.” After all, “people” includes all of us; black, white, Asian, Hispanic, etc., which simply should have each and every one of us asking “why is fashion about tall, skinny, white females and not ‘people’?”

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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