The Fashion industry is removing racial barriers to forced marches. Because in just three years the number of black models, yes black (they and they feel even more comfortable with this term or with the “African features” that with the aphorism of “people of color”) has doubled … and is on the way to triple. Every one has one thing in mind that black model matters.
You only have to look at what happens on the catwalks, but also in advertising campaigns, in magazines … to get an idea that this long-awaited change has finally occurred. And that dark skins and natural curly hairs have their space and their reason for being. As Antoinette Torres, founder and director of the African feminas virtual community, claims, “we don’t want to be white women, we are not uncomfortable with our features, we don’t need anything”.
Black Models Triple in Last Three Years.
Almost triple In just three years the presence of non-white models has doubled and almost tripled But, in addition to the evidence, there are finally statistics that confirm this racial revolution. The Fashion Spot, which began tracking racial diversity in parades in 2015, says there are reasons to be optimistic in this fight for racial equality. Studied the fall catwalks of 2019, the figures speak for themselves. After 221 shows and 7,300 model appearances, 38.8% (two out of five) of the models that paraded in New York, London, Milan and Paris were not white. This substantial increase (especially of African features models, although the number of Asian models has also increased) responds to a struggle that comes from afar, led among others by Naomi Campbell, who, yes, continues to complain today of that their opportunities are not the same because of their traits.
But the turn took shape especially since 2014. It was then that Ashley Chew, a model just as proud of the color of her skin as Campbell and just tired of the discrimination she lived with in light complexion models, raised her protest organizing the #BlackModelsMatter movement ( black models matter ) to complain that black models only had a 10% representation on the New York catwalk.
Black Model Matters Became A Campaign
Their fight began to viralize among their peers to reach its peak in 2016. That was the year in which he applauded that Kanye West and Zac Posen only hire women with African traits for their parades, while fiercely criticizing that in Vetements o Balenciaga only gave white models a chance. Then Chew and those who thought like her (not necessarily dark-skinned models) took to the streets armed with shirts and bags with that hashtag that is still at full capacity today, #blackmodelsmatter, asking that fashion make a real turn towards inclusion. New York is the most diverse catwalk, and Milan and London are the most stagnant And the miracle seems to have occurred. Although not everywhere equally.
New York is, without a doubt, the most racially diverse of the four main fashion weeks (with 45.8% of black models on the catwalk) and London and especially Milan are still lagging behind with just 32%. One of the main stars in this change that seems to be serious from the outside is Shanelle Nyasiase, who repeats as a mantra “I am a model, I am black and people must accept me.” The funny thing is that this acceptance has come so late and with it the appearance on the scene of a long list of models so quoted by the dark skin. This is the case of Anok Yai, of Sudanese parents, born in Egypt and based in the United States, where he arrived as a refugee when he was two years old.
History Is Created.
He made history a year ago when he became the first black model to open a parade of Prada, one of the firms most noted for its lack of diversity, after Naomi Campbell did it in 1997. Since then only three black models repeated on that catwalk, Jourdan Dunn in 2008, Malaika Firth in 2013 and Cindy Bruna in 2014. Yai, who is 21, has worked for Estee Lauder, Riccardo Tisci with Nike and has been the cover of ID. But, she is not alone in her struggle to tear down ethnic barriers because, along with her, the Haitian Aube Jolicoeur, the Nigerian Eniola Abioro (arriving in Australia as a refugee has worked with Prada, Versace and Altuzarra. Adut Akech and Zara), also succeed. the Sudanese Nyakim Gatwech and Nykhor Paul and Naomi Chin Wing, from Trinidad and Tobago, who has paraded exclusively for Saint Laurent.
And, of course, also María Borges. Born on October 28, 1992 in Luanda, Angola, her case is special not only because she was the first to parade for Victoria’s Secret with her natural afro hair, but because she was raised by her older brothers in a country immersed in the long War Civil until 2002. She has been the muse of L’Oréal Paris and also the only Angolan woman who has participated in the Paris Haute Couture Week and in all the official Fashion Weeks of the international circuit since her signing for Elite Model, but Stay true to your motto. “Never forget where you come from.”
Complaints Which Matter The Most.
Naomi Campbell and Ashley Chew believe that, from inside, the changes are minimal, The advance is impressive but not enough. In addition to Naomi Campbell who recently made statements that seemed to call into question all this progress warning that “everything remains the same”, also Ashley Chew has once again called for more seriousness in the intended advances for inclusion. In his Instagram account he complained only a few days ago that “nothing has changed from the inside.”
She denounced that, before one of the parades in New York, she spent more than twenty minutes waiting for her hair and makeup. And, like her, all the other black models included in the casting. “So are the horror stories of models that support the racism manifested behind the scenes. But here we are in 2019. And what has changed? Any. Got damn! How many more times do black models need to tell the fashion and beauty industry that it is urgent to do something to avoid embarrassing experiences? ”
Fashion Industry Taking A New Turn
He writes indignantly. Recommend stylists to learn about skin tones (and products that best match each one) dark and also how to treat afro hairs. But it even goes further and demands that they also apply behind the scenes. “They should hire a diverse group of people for each job involved in the show, using lighting technicians and photographers who understand all skin tones,” he laments. Jamal, an internationally renowned model, afro hair, dark complexion and androgynous features that lives in Barcelona and signed by Francina Models, believes that, thanks to the work that Chew, Campbell and Rihanna have done for equality, today in the masculine terrain “inequality is minimal and I share that feeling with many brothers parading from all over the world”, although that does not mean that “it is clear not all countries advance in the same way”.
Returning to Rihanna, she declares herself “ a number one fan for everything she does for physical equality with his Fenty Beauty line, which includes models of all types and sizes”.
Life As Fashion is also a big supporter of Black Models and has always said it in past also that Black Models Matter the most in fashion Industry.