However, John Galliano is just one man, and whilst his comments may be rightly condemned and abhorred, the racism which I describe runs a little deeper. It appears to be rife throughout the fashion industry: the issue of ethnic minorities and their token appearances in catwalk shows and editorials.
This year, Victoria Secret’s model Cameron Russell stated that beauty in the fashion industry is found in ‘tall slender figures… with white skin’. She also revealed that just 4% of models on today’s catwalks are non-white. Only last week, Jordan Dunn revealed her delight on Twitter that it was her bra size, not her skin colour, which excluded her from Dior’s runway show. She tweeted:
‘I'm normally told I'm cancelled because I'm ‘coloured’ so being cancelled because off [sic] my boobs is a minor’.
Whilst Miss Dunn appears to at least have a sense of humour, it does not take away from the fact that black models are often told by designers: ‘We’ve already found one black girl, we don’t need you any more’. More controversially, recently the magazine ‘Numéro’ decided to ‘black up’ a white model, instead of hiring a black model for its ‘African Queen’ editorial.
I’m not trying to state that the world of fashion has a zero tolerance policy on diversity and multi-cultures. After all, there are the likes of Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Jordan Dunn, Malaika Firth, and my very own favourite Alex Wek, striding the catwalk. However, they are some of the only faces holding the flag for diversity in a world that seems to favour white skin. With brands like Prada casting their first black model in advertising for nineteen years, it would appear that the fashion industry has a lot to answer for when it comes to celebrating different skin colours and diversity. Fashion is supposed to be something that can be celebrated globally, so isn’t it time the fashion world allowed it to be?