Boris vian l ecume des jours
29th September 2010
The Color of Fashion
(Page 1 of 2) Black and other ethnic models are still not well represented on fashion runways.
With New York Fashion Week now over, design houses have moved on to filling the orders buyers placed after viewing the trends that came down the runway. Critics have adjudicated the hits, the collection photos have been disseminated, and all the models are packed and ready for the next round of catwalk appearances. All, that is, except the dozens of black and other ethnic models, who are, as ever, unsure how much work they will get next season. It is a perennial issue—not just a seasonal one.
Fashion designers are notorious for excluding minority mannequins—male as well as female—from their runway extravaganzas. Not to mention the advertising campaigns that stuff the pages of magazines from Vogue to Elle to GQ with glossy, full-page spreads. Intermittently, there comes a wave of criticism and soul-searching that results in a brief flirtation with a new crop of “exotic” mannequins and even yields the occasional supermodel, whether Naomi or Chanel Iman
And then things settle back into the same old ... same old. Bethann Hardison, a model turned fashion-industry entrepreneur and activist, says things have improved since 2007, when she held a series of seminars and discussions with design houses and agencies pressing for more minority models, but "we're still not where we need to be."
Edwing D’Angelo is a young black/Latino designer who recently presented his exuberant women’s and men’s collections at the Waldorf-Astoria in a show that featured a striking array of Asian, Hispanic, black, and white models. He says ethnic models face the same obstacles as minority designers, especially when it comes to being featured in print: “They suffer from the looking-alike syndrome,” he says, referring to designers and fashion publications. “They’ll say, ‘We already have that