Racism In The Fashion Industry

1fd9b31b54399bc4416a2b21190d34b2This is one of those topics that are sometimes addressed in the fashion industry, and given more awareness in the last few years. It’s probably not even best to use the word racism per se. As it is more about the diversity that we need to have within the industry. Not talking about age, height, weight or gender, but only on race, as each fashion week that occurs, it can often be apparent that there are more Caucasian in fashion advertising and fashion runway. Fashion is a global language that affects all countries, through different advertisers, which is why it is so important to implement diversity – or rather, use a range of different people.

Ah, the topic of race is very sensitive to touch on. Growing up in a multicultural society, it is expected that one will face small or big issues from time to time. People are extremely influenced by the media they are exposed to. Too often the influence is by the similar image of a Caucasian with tanned skin and clear complexion. In the last several years, Asian models have grown more in order to cater for the Asian market, however Black models are still in the minor. The issue is that these models are showing (to blatantly put it) what is seen as beautiful, by the media. The problem is that when we limit cultural diversity, we limit the perspective on global beauty.

I was looking at various modelling agencies, and it seemed like a pattern that there were always minimum amount of people with colour. I didn’t really understand this, when I think about how multicultural we are in Australia, America, New Zealand and many other countries. The amount of Asians (in general) that want to have bigger eyes are (I guarantee) influenced by the media. When in reality, our natural eyes are beautiful! Just as we call white models simply ‘models’, why is there need to call a Black or Asian person a Black Model or an Asian Model. There is too much implication on race. When these are people simply doing their job, and should be typically recognized by their features, not their race. It is triggering words like ‘minority’, when ironically, these are two cultures that make up a significant amount of the worlds population.

The idealism of having a white, thin and tall women has become distinctively apparent within nearly many many campaigns, advertisements, magazine spreads and on the run way (where over 80% of  runways in general are made up of Caucasians). It’s sad the amount of articles I read online, where Black models are told by modelling agencies that they already have ‘one black model’. We need a time for change. I hope that in the future there will be equality in the industry of promoting a true cultural diversity within the fashion industry. Especially with the digital world rising in prominence, the influence of fashion is greater than ever before.

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7 thoughts on “Racism In The Fashion Industry

  1. My biggest problem with the beauty industry, more so in Asia, is the lack of dark skin friendly options. I am constantly irked by whitening creams and foundation shades that do not match darker skinned people!

      1. That’s true! It’s more of a fashion in Asia to have white skin compared to Western countries isn’t it? Thank goodness for online shopping :)

        Thank you so much! I feel honoured. That’s amazing. You have done a Master in Science. It just proves we can do anything – thanks for the inspiration! I have musophobia too. It’s quite an irrational fear for me.

        Thank you! X

  2. I would absolutely say it is an issue that in its core stems from racist issues, that unfolds and manifests itself throughout the industry as a diversity problem. The models of colour are often not seen as beautiful by people in charge, so as a domino effect the agencies don’t add enough of them to the mix. You kind of have to go rogue (i.e. Kanye Wests casting protocol) to ensure a diverse cast of models. It seems to be getting slightly better but it’s very important that we discuss it openly and focus on it so thank you for this post!

    I did a bit of research regarding diversity issues in fashion advertising, feel free to have a look at it: http://commonercreature.com/2015/05/03/diversity-in-fashion-whats-the-big-deal/ <3

    1. You article is very insightful! Thank you so much for sharing it with me. I hope you don’t mind that I have shared it on my Facebook page :) Your article was an enjoyable read, and I really agreed to so much of it, as well as learning the many statistics I didn’t know before.

      I have noticed this too, in terms of casting the same Non-Caucasian models to supposedly show racial diversity on the runway. But, in the end it is limiting opportunities for individuals.

      Katie. X

      1. Thank you darling. It is a very important subject that I feel we are in the midst of acknowledging, and after acknowledgement change can start to be implemented. That’s why I thought your post was wonderful :)

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