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Racism in Fashion Drawing

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Sammi Wong

on 8 April 2014

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Transcript of Racism in Fashion Drawing

Racism in Fashion Drawing
What is racism?
Classic shirt maker Van Heusen used ad campaigns back in the '50s, showing a stereotypical African witch doctor
First black model on Vogue Donyale Luna hid her face, because Vogue allegedly made this stylistic decision to avoid scaring off people at the newsstands
It would take eight more years for Vogue to feature a black model's entire face
Vogue Italia ran an article on "slave earrings", comparing hoop earrings to those worn by early African slaves
Stereotypical profiling of someone’s culture based on their appearance, traditions, and values, discriminating them and devaluing them as people

Vogue magazine was started in 1892
In over 118 years (1982-2012) and 1,416 covers, only 14 have featured minorities of any kind, less than 1%









"We're a Culture, Not A Costume" Campaign
Depictions of African Americans in Fashion Illustration
Depictions of Asians in Fashion Illustration
Designers Who Didn't Use Models of Colour Because It Doesn't Fit Their "Aesthetic"
"Improvements" Between Seasons
Quotes About Racism in the Industry
"It's the clothes that take much more the priority than the girl. And that was kind of the demise of the supermodel in a way, wasn't it? You ended up looking at the girls more than you looked at the collection."-
Russell Marsh, who casts for Prada

"It's not conscious racism. It's a racist result. But I know for a fact, in my country, my designers, the people who live in this city—these people are not conscious racists." What concerns her is that "the designer doesn't relate to fashion models anymore. The fashion model is part of fashion—and without her, fashion is limp. Lame." She laughs. "I'm almost more pissed about that than I am about the black thing."
-Bethann Hardison

“I find it weird when agents say, ‘You’re the only black girl booked for the show. Isn’t it great?’ Why is that great? I don’t know why people applaud designers for having just one ethnic model. It’s not like only one type of woman loves fashion.”
- Jourdan Dunn, model

“I feel the Dior cast is just so pointedly white that it feels deliberate,I watch that show and it bothers me — I almost can’t even concentrate on the clothes because of the cast.”
- James Scully, casting director whose clients include Tom Ford, Stella McCartney, Derek Lam and etc.

“There are only a handful of top-level, professionally trained models of color at a particular level out there now, and they end up being booked by other fashion houses and can be seen on dozens of runways each season, which is counter to what we are looking for. We try to present a unique and interesting cast with as many exclusives as possible to create and emphasize that season’s aesthetic.”
- Francisco Costa

“There are not only white people around the world,”
said Riccardo Tisci, the Givenchy designer,
who has been heralded for representing a range of races, ages and genders in his marketing. Of those who cast only white models, he said:

“I think that is called laziness. People sometimes think, ‘It’s easier, we’re used to it.’ ”

“I think, personally, I like a model if she’s a beauty. Sometimes what I disagree with is putting a black girl [in a show] just because you need diversity.”
–Barbara Nicoli

“At the end of the day, why are not so many black girls or Latin girls in shows? When you have an American president who is black! When I see this happening, it’s quite sad, I think. People can be so avant-garde, so advanced, but actually not, because people are still making differences between skin colour.”
- Riccardo Tisci, Givenchy's creative director
Negative Effects of Racism in the Industry
Vogue Netherlands does a spread featuring "blackface"
Victoria's Secret fetishizing other cultures
Pakistani designer Aamna Aqeel's photoshoot, "Be My Slave"
1940s Advertising
Pitting Models of Colour Against Each Other
"Back then there were 10 top models...but there was an unwritten rule that only one of them could be black," Banks said. "And Naomi was that one black girl."
"Why do I have to knock Naomi out to be successful? With white models they don't do that."
Iman said that, upon arriving in New York in 1975, she realized she was being pitted against Beverly Johnson. She recalls quickly learning "that magazines would only use one black girl at a time, and they were trying to create a competition between us."
Both sources he consulted—one a spokesperson for designer Jean-Paul Gaultier and the other a magazine editor—blamed the biases of the general reading audience, with the former stating that magazine sales can drop as much as 20 percent when a black woman is on the cover. "I would not say the fashion industry is racist; it's the world which is racist," the spokesperson said. "It is people who buy fashion and people who buy magazines and they seem to prefer the white woman."
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