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.
I knew in the past Naomi Campbell
and other prominent black models such as Jourdan Dunn,
and Chanel Iman
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.