With specific regards to Black people, who totaled a low of 270 right after Asians with 409 (I know. I was shocked too), high-end designers flood our culture—from our closets to our Hip-Hop and R&B lyrics. Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs and Hervé Léger are some of the most commonly mentioned brands in urban culture, but when I visit each of these fashion house’s websites, I can count the models of color between all of them on one hand and I still have four fingers left over. You do the math. And the one I did count is Asian, in case you’re wondering. Unless I miscounted, which is possible due to my quick skim, or the models are extremely light skin with Eurocentric features–which is also possible due to society’s racial identity complexes, these designers don’t seem to be as into us as we are into them. There are countless others in addition to these that we love to Twitpic and Instagram, but for the sake of time and my limited word count, I won’t compile the unpleasantly long list.
You know the saying, “people treat you the way you allow them to”? Well it couldn’t ring more true in the case of beauty and fashion. If we don’t think enough of ourselves to call out designers and beauty brands for their lack of us, then we really can’t complain when we see little to no people who match our complexion on the runways—as in the case of Alexander Wang who showed one Black model of his 39 looks and Alice + Olivia who featured zero Black models of 34 looks. The time is past due for us to start taking our dollars elsewhere until the same designers we support do a better job of reciprocating the love. There are a host of Black designers we can support who are just as talented, but working 1,000 times as hard as their counterparts to get put on. But that’s a different story for a different day.
Do you feel we are to blame for the lack of Black models and others of color on the runway? Share your thoughts with your fellow beauties!
In the meantime, stay in touch and follow me on Twitter: @VerityReign
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