During the time of fashion month, where everything is about pretty clothes, accessories and celebs, we ultimately become so consumed with what many see as superficial whilst ignoring major problems at hand. This season, has uprooted undeniable racial issues in the fashion industry, culminating from seasons of talks about the diminishing number of black models during fashion week resulting in Iman encouraging a boycott, Demeatria Bocella’s dream ofdiversity in fashion, and most recently letters addressing the matter to the CFDA, BFC, Fédération Française de la Couture, Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana by Bethann Hardison on Thursday, September 5.
Hardison not only sent letters to the people who designers listen to, but she even listed out all the designers who were guilty of direct or indirect “discrimination,” which included Duckie Brown, Donna Karan, Mulberry, JW Anderson, John Varvatos, Jil Sander, CHANEL, Carven. And by the looks of the letter to Fédération Française de la Couture, it looks as though every house is guilty.
Now, as things have definitely not settled, but time has passed to hear responses, it’s interesting the feedback received from these industry officials. So to sum it up, we’re going to bullet point the responses and follow-up with a mini op-ed.
– Steven Kolb of the CFDA told WWD that after discussing the letter with the organization’s President, Diane Von Furstenberg they will continue encouraging diversity amongst members. The CFDA even sent two emails over the last two weeks pushing industry people to take note.
– A BFC spokesperson told VOGUE.co.uk that,”The British Fashion Council does not organise model castings for London Fashion Week although, as its governing body, strongly asserts that all participating designers should recognise that London is one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world and should consider reflecting this demographic at their shows and presentations. The BFC is committed to model welfare and is more than happy to engage in tackling any issues regarding best practice and diversity at London Fashion Week.”
– Chambre Syndicale President, Didier Grumbach, called the letter’s requests “unreasonable.”
– Mario Boselli of Camera expressed designers of Milan Fashion Week have “complete freedom” in their model selection and though diversity is advised, they will not “impose” their authority for the cause.
Now… I’m sure many of you read the last two and thought, “Well we know how they feel.” And we do. From the verbiage used in a serious matter as such, responses came off as a very politically correct way of saying, “We don’t see a problem,” or for those who do notice the problem, “We just don’t care.” And that is worse than being PC. It’s a slap in the face.
It’s like VOGUE Italia releasing that all black model issue. Umm, thank you? I mean, I don’t need to know there are enough high profile, beautiful models in the industry to fill an entire magazine for us. That’s apparent. I need for you to notice that in the everyday circuit of runway, commercial and print, they’re not being utilized like the fair skinned models of the world. Not even for the September issue covers.
But it seems to have become easier and easier for not only the fashion industry to turn a blind eye to blatant discrimination, dare I say, racist acts. From the little girl who was told her locks were not school appropriate, to the mother in Florida sentenced to 20 years in prison toColorado Rep. Lori Saine (R) controversial acts, it seems that people don’t see anything wrong with what’s going on.
So where do we go from here? Fashion Month has more weeks under its belt. There’s time to make last minute alterations that not only act as a temporary changes, but is a long term resolution. Then again, nothing is ever that easy… is it?