Issues of Racism in the Fashion World
Below is an excerpt from a posting by a woman who is a fellow memeber of Ladies Lotto
. LL is an organization comprised of...super women basically. There are some amazing members and I thank my stars that I have such an amazing networking tool at my disposal. Not to mention times like these when the ladies post random topics of interest to women today that are out there blazing a trail for the most divine of genders, and in doing so create a great dialog of thoughts and opinions.
This particular topic was brought up by Lizz Wasserman of Popomomo
, a great eco-friendly clothing line, as well author of the blog material concern
. Lizz works in the fashion industry and has been a little more than ticked off at the lack of diversity in the fashion world. Read her thoughts below.
Oh Vogue! American Vogue’s shoots are staid, the
stories filled with insight into how to “stave off hunger” (i…ummm…eat
when hungry), and shows me pictures of rarely interesting wealthy women
who “can do it all” with several nannies, a trust fund, a husband
(preferably soon to be ex) in finance and a beautiful gi-normous
flat.With all the above though, i’ve grown to accept this from American
Vogue: i take it all with a grain of salt (ooh bloating!) but move on.
But, hypocrisy, especially hypocrisy involving the “whitewashing” of
racism is not okay.The past couple seasons in fashion have been really,
really…white. On the runways, there has been very little diversity: in
the shows last fall, over a third of shows (101 total) employed no
black models. And then, Vogue was called out for the lack of diversity
on its covers: clay cane’s blog has the most exhaustive tally i’ve
seen, starting with Beverly Johnson’s cover in 1974.However, Vogue
hasn’t had a lot of African American models on the cover: under Anna
Wintour’s reign approximately 10 black women have been solo on the
cover of Vogue (that’s since 1988), and only 4 since 2000: Marion
Jones, Halle Berry, Liya Kebede and Jennifer Hudson. There have been
several other black women on the cover in ensemble shoots with white
women. Vogue got a lot of s(*&t for not being equal opportunity: and
decided to passive-aggressively respond with a hypocritical article “Is
Fashion Racist?”The article starts by telling us about the horrible
situation of racism in fashion, primarily trying to shift blame to the
runways. At one point the article cites Chanel Iman’s Vogue
Cover:Please note it’s a fold out. Please note which side of the fold
she’s on.Bullshit Bullshit Bullshit Vogue: it’s not just the runway’s
fault. The only reason we don’t see beautiful people of every color
prominently as models is due to racism and the perceived racism the
magazines and lines have of their customer. And Vogue’s 5 page spread
of the 3 black models Anna Wintour felt like showing is cheesy and
awkward.i will not be renewing my subscription.
Truthfully those are ridiculous numbers but Vogue is a RIDICULOUS MAGAZINE. Of course I always have to play devil's advocate though. I wonder if we should criminalize Vogue, run predominately by white, rich women (although their fashion editor at large, Andre Leon Talley, is a black man. just sayin.) for taking aim at their and patronizing with articles and features their demographic: white, rich women. And also what giant fashion houses are run by black men or women? I won't portend that I know a lot about the fashion business but I can't really think off the top of my head of any.I'm not saying this is right, but mearly wondering if it's really so shocking that there should be such a huge misrepresentation of the diversity of american culture. I don't think that Vogue has ever labeled itself as a magazine for all the american people. It's exclusive by definition. However, I will say that it's combination of racial and economical exclusivity is disconcerting. I'm sure there are just as many wealthy, over-privelaged, boring black people as there are wealthy, over-priveledged, boring white people, yet there's a lack of obnoxious profiles devoted to them. In terms of why there aren't enough black models I think we should turn to blaming the beauty ideal of stick-thinedness (not a word) and perhpas not jump to the conclusion that it's because of skin color. True it probably is partly to do with skin color but I'm sure a good deal of it has to do with the fact that when it comes down to it high fashion wants rail-thin, gaunt, waifs that look like they're made out of paper and no one does that better than white girls! Ok, maybe asians.
My point is this: I suppose Essence would look ridiculous with a white man on the cover. However, Essence clearly proclaims that it's for the african-american community. Perhaps Vogue should have a postscript on every cover. It could read: VOGUE: FOR THE RICH PEOPLE, WELL...MOSTLY THE RICH, WHITE PEOPLE, BUT IF YOU MAKE ENOUGH (OR ARE SKINNY ENOUGH) WE'LL MAKE AN EXCEPTION.
Would they come under fire I wonder? I mean at least they're being honest.