WHY ARE BLACK MODELS SHUNNED BY THE FASHION INDUSTRY

By Linda Nuamah

I was about to post a blog about shoes, when I decided to have a look at the web shops of some of the major retailers and eCommerce businesses. After browsing for a while, it came to me that these companies hardly make use of black models. The few models of colour that you would come across were either Asian (also not enough of them) or of mixed race. In countries such as the UK and the US, this is not really representative of the demographics of the country.

Model: Simone  Awor - Uganda

Model: Simone Awor – Uganda

I knew in the past Naomi Campbell

Naomi Campbell

Model: Naomi Campbell – UK

and other prominent black models such as Jourdan Dunn,

Jourdan Dunn

Model: Jourdan Dunn – UK

Joan Smalls,

Joan Smalls

Model: Joan Smalls – Puerto Rico

and Chanel Iman

Chanel Iman

Model: Chanel Iman – US

have commented about racism in the industry. The fact that the fashion industry, and particularly the modelling industry, has a prejudice against people of colour is not something new, and is not going to change anytime soon if the mindset of the dictators of the industry doesn’t change. The above mentioned models made comments such as: “You’re a black model. It’s a challenge” or “we already found one black girl. We don’t need you any more or “people in the industry say if you have a black face on the cover of a magazine it won’t sell”.

Ajak Deng Sudan

Model: Ajak Deng – Sudan

The latter is what I find so difficult to believe, as the industry is dictated by its leaders; people buy into hypes created by marketing efforts. You can sell a Bic pen to a person who has one, and don’t actually need one, as long as you create a WANT around that specific pen you are selling. Fashion without the humans behind it, is colour-blind and beautiful.

Ayor Makur Sudan

Model: Ayor Makur – Sudan

The downside of the one-way beauty view is the phenomenon of bleaching the skin among Asians and Africans, as they believe the lighter they become the closer they will get to the ideal beauty image.

Nyasha Matonhodze Zimbabwe

Model: Nyasha Matonhodze – Zimbabwe

By keeping up with this one way perception of beauty, we are destroying future confidence levels of black and Asian kids, and other ethnicities that are not considered white.

So, to the designers, casting directors, editors and retailers, I would like to show you there is more than just one flavour on the menu.

Fatima Siad Somalia

Model: Fatima Siad – Somalia

One retailer that is actually doing it right is Canada based online retailer SSENSE www.ssense.com. That’s one retailer that is embracing diversity and I’m happy to recommend.

Ataui Deng Sudan

Model: Ataui Deng – Sudan

I became an entrepreneur because I wanted to do things differently. The one promise that I can make is that JANET + GEORGE will represent the world and its diversity on its web shop. The best thing about diversity is that we are different, and that is the beauty of it.

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About JANET + GEORGE

JANET + GEORGE is your online luxury shopping destination. Established in 2013 by Linda Nuamah, JANET + GEORGE hosts a compelling mix of emerging fashion design talent alongside established international brands. We select and sell the world’s best fashion clothes, shoes, bags and accessory. Our unrivalled customer experience sets us apart. We offer express delivery as standard.
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2 Responses to WHY ARE BLACK MODELS SHUNNED BY THE FASHION INDUSTRY

  1. I love your post, you are so right and thank you for representing the voices of the African American and Asian models. Congratulations on your upcoming online shop and my blog concept, too, is about supporting the emerging fashion designers. The best to you!

  2. Hi Rhonda,
    Thanks for your kind comment. I guess this is a topic that we can’t really avoid as it’s happening everywhere. Starting fashion designers and entrepreneurs can make a difference if they choose to. I would love to exchange experience on your search for emerging designers – and possible cross-link for new talents. Btw, love your blog post on slow fashion vs. fast fashion. I personally believe we should go back to slow fashion. Quality above disposable fashion:-)

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