Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Have times really changed?

We all will never forget the times of slavery, the civil war movement, or even when Obama became our first black president. But despite that most recent triumph added to our American history, I have to ask: 
 Have times really changed?
Have we really come so much further?
Beyond prejudice and racism?

[credit:Photo: Seth Wenig/Associated Press/nytimes.com]
And of course I bet you're wondering what does that have to do with fashion? With those questions in mind we turn to the world of fashion and runway shows. It is fashion that still discriminates. The woes of the fashion industry have long been the frequent number of paper thin models to the ratio, or lack there-of even a ratio, of black models on the runway. What am I talking about? In an article by Thomson Reuters, he has said that many fashion observers have agreed that while the numbers have improved there's still too little use of black models or any diversity period. In NYC's Fashion Week where shows feature 12-25 models some used just one while others didn't use any at all.  So who's to blame? The modeling agencies who employ the models? Or the designers that pick and book them? In an essay written by ex-model turned actress; Joy Bryant wrote about her shocking first hand experience for the Huffington Post. In this excerpt it might be concluded that the designers are the cause:
 [Pictured: Joy Bryant]
 "I finally get to the room, where the VERY famous designer is sitting at a long table with a few associates. I say hello, hand my portfolio over, and proceed to "walk" (please reference "Top Model"). I do so and then the VERY famous designer says to me, with a smile of course, "Joy, you are soooo beautiful, but I'm not using black girls this season." (Insert sound of record scratching here). Yeah, he actually said that to my 'beautiful' face. He's lucky he didn't get a black eye."

 But not all designers have that backward form of thinking, widely known Diane Von Furstenberg has shown an increase in her number of ethnic/black models. Tim Gunn, creative director at Liz Claiborne and co-host of Bravo television's "Project Runway," is quoted in Reuters saying that he would like to see "more diversity among fashion designers. With more support for designers of color, that can help this issue as well." Regardless some step taken is better than none at all. What are your thoughts?
Trina [ ]

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