The Fight For Black Runway Models Continues

October 5, 2015

It’s getting hotter and hotter in the kitchen, and Vogue magazine has finally stepped outside for air.

Sources reveal that Steven Meisel has shot an entire upcoming issue for Vogue Italia showcasing all black models and featuring newcomer Jourdan Dunn on the cover.

Back in August, 2007, model Naomi Campbell singled out Vogue magazine, saying it does not give black models “equal prominence.” “Black models are being sidelined by the major modeling agencies. It is a pity that people don’t appreciate black beauty,” Naomi complained while on vacation in Africa. She further stated that, “Even myself, I get a raw deal from my own country in England,” she explains. “For example, I hardly come on the front pages of the London Vogue magazine. Only white models, some of whom are not as prominent as I am, are put on splash pages.”

While many people ridiculed her for voicing her opinion, her voice has apparently been heard. “You Go Naomi”.

Naomi is not the only one frustrated behind the fact that black models are not getting fair chances. Jourdan voiced her opinion by stating that, “London’s not a white city so why should all our castings be white? I go to castings and see several black and Asian girls, then I get to the show and look around and there’s just me and maybe one other coloured face,” she told the Evening Standard. “They just don’t get picked. I hope it’s because the designer just didn’t think they were good enough as a model but I don’t know.”

Sean Combs expressed his concern and chose to speak up about it as well as feature an all black cast for his Fall 2008 fashion show.

Carole White who co-founded the world- famous Premier Model Management agency shared her thoughts and said that, “way back in 1982, black faces were all the rage with fashion editors, with the likes of Iman, Pat Cleveland and the teen sensation Naomi Campbell gracing the covers of magazines. More than 25 years later, the industry’s progressive instincts have gone into reverse, as editors have taken a view that only white faces sell at news-stands”.

Carole further stated that, “Whenever I ask the question, it’s always about sales and the idea that blue eyes and blonde hair sells. I’m not sure I believe that. If fashion editors were a bit braver and tried out black, Asian and Chinese models, our eyes would be easier on that look”. “They don’t give the opportunities to these girls. Given that there are so many variations of skin, particularly in London, it’s a backward step being taken if no one is brave enough to give ethnic girls a chance,” she says.

White has made it her business to challenge the color prejudices of the rag trade, speaking out earlier this year during London Fashion Week. She thinks that the women’s magazine industry, which gives a platform to the designers and their catwalk shows, is part of the problem, not the solution.

Though Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman has insisted the number of black women featured in her magazine is “absolutely on a par with the whole population”, White begs to differ. “Why is it getting worse and not better, then? There are fewer and fewer black models in magazines, in spite of the increasing ratio of ethnic minorities in the population,” she says. …continue

Vogue Italia coming out with the “All Black Issue” is wonderful news (history in the making), however, the only question would be, is this the sound of doors opening for more black models or just merely a one time deal to shut black folks up? The question arises because it seems rather odd for an “all black spread” in a magazine where blacks are not even the norm? Why not simply diversify? It’s not that complicated.