Friends don’t let friends be racist.
Friends don’t let friends be racist.
You wouldn’t believe it if you looked on the runway, at an ad campaign, or heck…anywhere, but people of color are buying more luxury goods than ever. Nielsen just released its consumer report on black Americans, and the market research firm’s findings were, to say the very least, quite eye-opening. With black buying power expected to to reach $1.7 trillion by 2017, the report notes how increasingly important it’s become for brands to market to black people. Sadly, getting companies to realize this has been a struggle. According to the report, $75 billion dollars was spent last year on television, magazine, internet, and radio advertising, yet only $2.24 billion was spent on media focused on black audiences. A puzzling figure indeed.
Andre Leon Talley is one of the most beloved, larger-than-life (literally and figuratively) personalities in the fashion industry. So it’s fitting that he was the latest fashion figure to sit down at the 92Y with Fern Mallis for her “Fashion Icons” series.
Racial diversity was a big story this fashion month, thanks in large part to The Diversity Coalition and Bethann Hardison, who, before NYFW kicked off, sent letters to the governing bodies of each of the four international fashion weeks (New York, London, Milan and Paris) calling for an end to runway racism and calling out specific designers in each city who were guilty of the “racist act” of failing to put people of color on their runways.
The big question over these last few weeks has been, did it work? And, just generally, were the runways any less white this season? Overall, the answer seems to be that there was an improvement, but not a huge one.
Two weeks ago, on the eve of New York Fashion Week, fashion activist Bethann Hardison launched a campaign to end racism on the runway. In an open letter to the governing fashion bodies of the major fashion cities–New York, London, Milan, and Paris–she blasted the industry for its white-washed model casts, stating that “no matter the intention, the result is racism.” And she wasn’t afraid to name names. Along with the memo, she publicly called out a number of designers who last season featured zero or one model of color on the runway.
The designers, it seems, were listening.
Iman has thus far gone the diplomatic route–describing designer and casting agents’ actions as racist rather than their persons–but she’s now admitting that she purposely boycotts certain labels’ merchandise for their racist tendencies. One particularly guilty designer, in her eyes, is Celine creative director Phoebe Philo.
Find out what the British Fashion Council had to say in response to Bethann Hardison’s letter calling out its designers for being racist.
Earlier this week fashion activist Bethann Hardison (yes, that’s on her Twitter bio) put out a call to action: she sent out letters to the governing fashion bodies in each major fashion city (New York, London, Milan, Paris) stating that it can “no longer be accepted” that designers “consistently use one or no models of color.” The result of using an all-white model cast, she said, is “racism” regardless of the reasoning behind it. She went on to call out every offending designer. (See the full list here.)
We caught up with the Jourdan Dunn, one of five models of color that walked Jason Wu’s show yesterday, to get her take on Hardison’s campaign.
Last night we went to the NYC premiere of About Face: Supermodels Then and Now, which you can catch on July 30 at 9pm on HBO. Besides everything we learned from the models on the red carpet before the premiere, the documentary itself was really eye-opening. The models were frank and forthcoming about their experiences Read more →