Good old Franca Sozanni – one of the few big names in fashion who regularly raises the issue of race on the runways.
The Editor of Italian Vogue seems to be on a one-woman crusade to get more diversity in fashion.
In her latest blog, she asks: ‘Why is it still so difficult to have black models on the runways?’ She talks about her experiences at Rio Fashion Week in Brazil – one of the most racially diverse places on earth – but says that ‘it’s the same old story’ where ‘less than 10% of the models are black.’
On one hand she says she is ‘positive’ that ‘this has nothing to do with racism’ yet on the other she says ‘nobody proposes them (at castings) and that, in any case, there are few good-looking ones.’
Yes, you read correctly – she is told that there are too few good looking black girls. I’m going to leave that statement there.
She recognises that prejudice exists and would like to see it change but we argue that one lone *white* voice isn’t enough. Of course the black blogs/mags etc will bemoan the lack of colour on the catwalk or in the magazines but that isn’t enough. Franca on her own isn’t going to change things.
Franca of Italian Vogue is powerful, but not powerful enough. We need the Anna Wintours of US Vogue and the Alexandra Shulmans of UK Vogue to raise awareness and more importantly, put more women of colour on the cover and in the editorials of their magazines.
It isn’t just about black girls either – there are beautiful mixed race, Asian and Chinese girls that deserve the opportunity to grace the pages of these hallowed publications.
Much has been said in print and online recently about the article in Canadian ELLE that showed that women are more likely to buy products when they are shown on women that look like them (age, size, race). At the end of the day, magazines and catwalks aren’t just about pretty pictures – things need to get sold. Let’s hope brands, casting directors and fashion houses wake up to the fact that non-white women have money to spend too.
Read Franca Sozzani’s blog entry here and let us know what you think.