Naomi Campbell Is Pissed! Where Are All The Ethnic Models At NYFW?

Naomi Campbell

We don’t often report on fashion, but when we do, it’s about important issues that need to be discussed and shared!

New York Fashion Week this fall has already made some pretty big headlines. It made history by staging the very first Plus Size runway show, from designer Eden Miller for her label Cabiria, which was started by a kickstarter campaign earlier this year!

Well now it’s in the mainstream news headlines again about a controversial topic: racism on the runway. This time supermodels Iman and Naomi Campbell are the focus of the story. Naomi is often known for her trouble making, but she is putting her fiery-ness to good use in this instance!

The two beauties, along with model turned advocate Bethann Hardison are part of a group called the Diversity Coalition who are determined to force more designers to use ethnic models on the runway. They say there is a huge lack of diversity and its not an accurate representation of the real women in the world.

They are not only speaking out about the issue, but are going as far as naming and shaming them in an open letter to the governing bodies of Fashion Weeks across the globe calling for more diversity. So far only the British Fashion Council has responded, saying that although they are not responsible for model castings at fashion week, “we assert that all participating designers should recognize that London is one of the most multicultural cities in the world and should consider reflecting this demographic at their shows and presentations,” said spokeswoman Gemma Ebelis.

Iman is quick to point out that they are not calling those particular designers racist, but the very act of excluding other ethnicities in itself is racist. Wife of David Bowie saw more ethnic diversity when she started her career, where you’d think the industry would progress as opposed to regress.

“There were more black models working [in the 1970s] than in 2013,” she said. “There is a time when silence is not acceptable at all. And if the conversation cannot be had publicly in our industry, then inherently there is something wrong with the industry” she told ABC News’ Juju Chan.

Campbell, who closed the Diane Von Furstenberg show praised the industry veteran, along with designer Tom Ford who casts all his own models, for taking diversity seriously. The Council of Fashion Designers of America sent emails to all the NYFW designers telling them “The most powerful message is one of diversity,” it told ABC News.

While there are designers and critics using the excuse of creative visions as the reason for using only a certain type of models, Campbell, Iman, and Hardison are not buying it and calling bullshit on that response.

Their reason for action is that they hope diversity will become fashionable, not a hot button topic aligned with racism issues. It is 2013 after all!

“Who else?” Iman asked. “Who’s going to [speak out]? Somebody has got to do it. And change does not happen easily.”

Another model passionate about this issue is up-and-comer Jourdan Dunn who has become more prominent for her thoughts on racism on the runway than her modeling campaigns. She told Fashionista that it seems colored women are only used when they are the trend of the moment, and that more models and industry people need to use their voice to speak out about this issue.

Just look at Tyra Banks, a supermodel who has always been outspoken about how hard it was to progress up the ranks of a mostly white industry as a black woman in the 1990s, who recently modeled in a photography project portraying other supermodels. Anyone else notice it was only white women? Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne!

While Tyra should not be considered racist for doing this, the point is that SHE herself was one of those industry game-changers in the 1990s, and she doesn’t need to dress up as someone else to portray something significant. She has done more for empowering and inspiring women in fashion than Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne ever will!

To see the full list of major designers who the Naomi Campbell, Iman and Bethann Hardison are targeting for a good cause, watch the interview with ABC news.


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