Black Models Take to Parisian Streets to Protest Racism in the Fashion Industry

Posted by Sidney, 14 Mar

It seems the Oscar academy awards isn't the only organization being blamed for being 'so white'. Turns out, even the fashion industry has got diversity issues.

The minimal representation of black models isn't just an American issue. Its an issue overseas too. This is why a group of black models took to the streets to protest racism and cultural appropriation of fashion brands. This happened just when the Paris Fashion Week was coming to an end.

Led by India Irvin, the models cited lack of diversity on the fashion runways. They also pointed out how the black culture is usually used on runways yet, there are usually fewer models of color.  Numerous times we have seen white models on runways rocking dreadlocks and other ethnic hairstyles and jewelry. Runways even use black music. But to no surprise, black models are not given the opportunity to showcase their own culture.

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Below is a report by Blavity:

In light of prevalent accusations of cultural appropriation on the runways at New York Fashion Week, U.K.-based model India Irvin felt the time was right to bring light to the historic lack of diversity that continues to prevail on runways in Paris, Milan, and London. “February was black history and March is women’s so it just felt right,” she wrote in an Instagram post.

Holding a sign that read “Les Modèles Noirs Importent” (translated “Black Models Matter”), Irvin protested outside the Balenciaga show on Saturday where of the 47 models featured in the show, there were only four models of color. In an Instagram post, Irvin explained that while her protest happened outside of the Balenciaga show, the fashion brand is not unique in its underrepresentation of black models. The protest could just as easily been staged at Lanvin or Celine, or any show that “was big enough to grab the attention back to the cause,” she said.

 

Irvin pointed out how Gucci 2017 show ONLY used 17 models of color out of the 119 who walked in the show. Clearly this shows just how much harder it is being black in the fashion and entertainment industry. If black models are being robbed of the opportunity to showcase their own culture, what's next?

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