Spring is right around the corner, at least for us southerners :) and visions of espadrilles and sundresses have begun to dance in my head. Naturally, as a self-proclaimed fashionista, I began scouring the latest ad campaigns and magazines for spring inspiration. As I surfed the net, I came across some pictures from W magazine. As I mentioned in my last BeautifulCompany post, I couldn't help but be distracted by the lack of diversity in the models:
As promised I did a little research and dug a little deeper...
Apparently I am not the only one that noticed a "white-out" in the industry. Bethann Hardison has led the charge and become very instrumental in demanding equality in the industry.
Picture source: uptownlife.net
For those of you that do not know this fabulous woman, allow me to enlighten you. :) Bethann Hardison is a former model (and Dwayne Wayne's [Kadeem Hardison] mom :)) who worked with major designers and magazines ie: Vouge and Harper's Bazaar in the 1970's.
After retiring from modeling she became an agent and eventually started her own agency: Bethann Management. Ms. Hardison focused her attentions on ethnic models and is credited with jump-starting the careers of major models such as Tyson Beckford. To learn more about her click here.
In 2007 Bethann Hardison began a series of forums about Blacks in Fashion, attended by fashion heavyweights such as, Andre Leon Talley, Naomi Campbell, Iman, Kimora Lee Simmons and MANY others.
Ms. Hardison carries some clout! lol
These forums were an open floor to discuss the recent "white-out" that had not gone unnoticed in the fashion industry. During the forums it was concluded that designers and agencies were unaware of the problem. Several black models spoke out, expressing that many designers and agents felt that having one black model was enough. The overall consensus was that many magazines, agents and designers felt that black models do not sell. (If you would like a more detailed account of these forums Claire at Fashion Bomb Daily attended these conferences and did a great job reporting on them)
After these conferences, things seemed to get better-- for a while. Vogue Italia released it's All Black Issue in July 2008. (I am the proud owner of an issue!)
The issue sold out in the US and UK in 72 hours! Though some people had mixed feelings about the issue, I felt that it was a step in the right direction.
The models featured on the quadruple cover: Liya Kebede, Sessilee Lopez, Jourdan Dunn,-- with the addition of Chanel Iman, Jessica White and Arlenis Sosa seem to have been granted entry into the fashion elite (Naomi was inducted years ago). Though this is great for these models, many other Black models have doors slammed in their faces daily because the powers that be feel they have met their color quota .
On the BEAUTY side of things, I must give Covergirl props for diversity in their beauty campaigns. Though I have yet to see an Asian or Middle-Eastern model, CG has a fairly long history of having African-American and Latina lead models in their ads. Tyra Banks, Brandy, and Rihanna are examples. The CG Queen Collection with spokesperson Queen Latifah is geared towards women of color.
Also Dania Ramirez is set to launch CGs Clean Makeup for Clean Water campaign. Mabelline also uses people of color for many of their ads including, Jourdan Dunn, Jessica White and Halle Berry. *snaps for them!*
So Beautiful People....
Does it make a difference to you what color the models are, as long as the ad is HOT?
Should we as the consumer protest louder? Boycott?