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Edited by on July 27 2010 at 1:40 PM

Renee Thompson is a model trying to make it into NY Fashion week, with 10 years of experience modeling all over the world, a beautiful portfolio and drive she continues to struggle because of her skin color.  (http://www.nfb.ca/film/colour_of_beauty)

I was sent this video by a friend and it really struck me.  Read my email response:

“I have worked fall and spring NY fashion week shows since fall 2008.  There are several things here that I have seen and know from working backstage. 

1. There is a tendency to use 1 or 2 Dominican models (It seems being black and exotic is trendy over being “regular” and latinas are working more than blacks from what I’ve seen)
2. There is a tendency to use mostly white brazilian models and models from the Ukraine
3. There is a tendency to use 1 Asian model
4. There is 1 or 2 African-Candian or African-American models. (usually Chanel Iman)
5. Alek wek looking models are starting to be phased out

The only show that I attended (not worked) that had a lot of black models was the ARISE Magazine show this past Spring (African Fashion Mag).  Every working black model was in that show.

Now where does it start? Who's to blame. I really believe we designers are largely to blame. I know that when I have shows I purposely choose models that aren't the industry standard. While I'm not big enough yet to make an impact, I will continue to do this.  My hope and dream is to have many fashion week shows that isn't labled “African” that features mostly black, latina, native american, Indian and Asian models.  Because they are constantly stealing our flyness and remixing it for old and oddly shaped (mostly white) women and selling it for $1000s.  Do you know how trends start? Trend spotting agencies travel the world and take photos of US. Then take those photos and make mood boards and presentations for designers. Think of all the “ethnic” trends there have been recently. Come y'all can steal from people of color all over the world and those people can't be apart of the presentation?  Fashion is one of the many venues that helps the masses to embrace imperialism.  When Britain was occupying India, having silk was such a status symbol.  Not a coincidence. I can go on and on but just know that I'm working to chance the industry from within.  It may take my whole life but I will keep at it.

Love,
Chay”

And I mean it. Please leave your thoughts and comments.

Until then,

Chay

The Colour of Beauty


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