Rainbow Runways?

Today I got an email from my mother, it was no different from several that she had sent before but this time I wondered if she was really on to something. It read:

“Ash, (my middle name is Ashley) there are so many new black faces or black faces in general, modeling right now.  I’m seeing them more than ever!  I really wish you would go for it!  I think you could really do it!”

Gotta love moms.

Her encouragement aside, it made me think. Is diversity in fashion really changing? Has the shift finally occurred? Is this my (or any other Black girl’s) moment? I will say that working on review after review for WWD.com I did notice faces that not only looked like mine but simply looked different.

For so long there was one look; one girl that emerged at the head of the runway season after season or graced the pages of the latest big name glossy. But according to the glossiest of glossies, Vogue, the winds of change could finally be blowing. According to their observations, Grace Mahary, Iman, Hammam and Cindy Bruna are ushering in a new phase.

But how valid is this?

One google search of ‘diversity in fashion’ made things very clear, very quickly that although there has been some improvement, it’s not nearly where it should be. Fashion greats like Beverly Johnson, Tyson Beckford and Andre Talley have been very vocal about the lack of diversity in fashion as it specifically pertains to Black people. Johnson referring to the issue as straight up, “intolerable,” and the industry itself as “out of touch.”

I think Fashionista got it right when they confirmed that diversity on runways were, “Better than it was a few years ago. But still not great.”

The bottom line is that we all need to see ourselves represented. Why would it even be an option not to? Aside from the fact that it makes sense from a business standpoint, why wouldn’t you want to showcase all types of beauty? Showcase all of the different women that can wear and flourish in your pieces? Seem like a no-brainer to me.

What do you think? Do you see yourself represented and whether you do or don’t, how does it make you feel?


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