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Let’s Talk About It: The Fashion Industry Continuously Fails Black Models

by Angela McShan for Urban Mindz

Social media ads, runway shows, and magazine articles display the life and style of black models and creatives of today. They present their inner and outer beauty to the world, but do they always get it right?

The statement “my black is beautiful” is one that moves mountains. However, it isn’t moving the mountain that the fashion industry continuously places in the path of celebrated black models and creatives around the world.

Picture This

Pictures speak volumes and in the fashion industry, they speak to millions of people reading lifestyle and fashion publications daily. What happens when a black model gives a compelling interview or is featured in a publication, only to be improperly represented by the image accompanying the article?

Model Adut Akech was mistaken for another black model in an Australian publication in August 2019.

It’s not that the picture was photo shopped or that the photographer didn’t catch the perfect lighting. It’s worse! An article is printed reflecting a story as told by a model's personal experiences, but alongside the story is a photo of a completely different model. It could happen, right? Of course, but why does it continue to happen to our black models? Fact-checking is a thing, and it should be done when telling any story, especially when publishing interviews and personal stories that someone shares with the public.

Black models are beautifully unique, which supports the fact that they don’t all look alike!

Failure to fact check and publish the wrong image of a model will increase the click rate of major publications, but not for the reasons they target. Improper image display is not a movement, it’s a mess that needs more than a public apology, and it needs to end now!

15-Minutes ‘til Show

New York Fashion Week debuted in the early 1940's. It is now 2019 and you would think that they’ve mastered the art of ripping the runway by now. Of course, it all comes together on the big stage, but what’s happening to black models behind the stage?

A story shared by fashion model and activist, Ashley Chew, some years ago detailed the chaos and disrespect that black models face during New York Fashion Week. She shared her frustration of how the mainstream event continuously fails to provide adequate hairstylists and makeup artists for the black models, who are overlooked and pushed aside while those of other races receive top of the line services from celebrity stylists.

Simply put, women of color are dominating the industry and it’s time for designers and event coordinators to align themselves with hairstylists and makeup artists who are trained to highlight the beauty of every skin tone.

Black models are present and it’s time that they are given the respect they deserve. Although improvements have been made, there are many issues of diversity and inclusion that need to be corrected in the fashion industry.

Black models are beautiful and intelligent, and it’s time for industry giants to treat them as such and stop apologizing for the "mistakes" that continue. And never should any race of women be referred to as "in trend." Black models have always been as stunning as they are today, and whether high-end designers or fashion magazines want to acknowledge that fact, they are here to stay!

#Blackmodelsmatter #inclusion #diversity #blackmodels #fashionindustry #justfixit