‘It’s disappointing to hear that models of colour are still encountering these same issues all these years later’
While recognition for beauty that exists outside of fashion’s white, skinny norm is on the up within the industry as a whole, there’s still arguably a long way to go when it comes to an equal playing field in terms of representation on the runway. With designers such as Chromat and Kanye Wests’s Yeezy hiring a majority of non-white models for their AW16 presentations, it could almost come as a surprise that diversity stats only indicate a three per cent rise in the number of models of colour on the runway for this season compared to SS16.
However, despite the arguable lack of tangible industry change, more and more women such as Leomie Anderson and Philomena Kwao are speaking out about the realities of working in the industry as a black model. Using social media to call out make-up artists for their non-inclusive pallets and pushing for a non-tokenistic approach to inclusive casting throughout the industry, Naomi Campbell is the latest industry heavyweight to weigh in on fashion’s race problem. Recently speaking to Teen Vogue about the lack of preparation by models and stylists backstage, Campbell suggests the issues raised by models today are unfortunately nothing new.
“When I was younger, I encountered this same issue. I would be backstage at shows and there would be stylists who didn’t have any experience working with black models,” she tells the publication. “It’s disappointing to hear that models of colour are still encountering these same issues all these years later.”
Not one to shy away from confronting the fashion industry’s issues head on, when it comes to discrimination against models of colour and other problems such as body censorship Campbell has always used her platform to provoke positive change. An advocate for #FreeTheNipple, the supermodel has previously spoken out about the dangers of considering the black model movement a trend, even setting up a WhatsApp group for her ‘black model babies’ to help them through the ups and downs modelling.