I HONESTLY THINK September 2014 - Page 47


The fashion industry prides itself as being on the cutting edge of what’s next, what’s new, yet their mentality of race and beauty seems to be stuck in the 1960’s. The lack of diversity has been a perennial issue in fashion for the last 20 years, particularly on the runway, new collections in a variety of vibrant colours are displayed but not the models wearing them.

Twenty year old Chanel Iman Robinson told The Sunday Times Magazine that when she goes for model castings for runway shows, she often gets turned down. "A few times I got excused by designers who told me, 'We already found one black girl. We don't need you anymore.' I felt very discouraged," she confessed. "When someone tells you, 'We don't want you because we already have one of your kind,' it's really sad." In a time of globalisation and shifting standards of beauty, why is it that designers, stylists and brands don’t want to embrace and celebrate different types of beauty? It's extremely perplexing. There isn’t just one golden standard of beauty or a particular form that everyone must fit into to be considered beautiful. Although renowned designers such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga and Versace are aware of this and seem to build collections around obscure types of beauty, they don’t embed this idea into their casting.

This issue is a stark contrast from the 1970’s when girls of all races were celebrated on the runway. Hubert de Givenchy was eminent for having the first all-black cabine and Yves Saint Laurent used black models copiously in his Paris shows. Although these Fashion houses may still exist, not only are the men who founded them dead, but their visions too. It’s time for the fashion industry to realise that it’s a vast world out there, with more varieties of ethnicities than are currently displayed on the runway.

Fatima Khan

Chanel Iman Robinson

Picture credit: GIANT MAG