Fab Flash: Diversity Is Still an Issue on the Runway

Strike while the iron's hot. That's exactly what model veteran Bethann Hardison has done in "Race on the Runway", a discussion of the ongoing epidemic of a seemingly all-white runway. Though New York Fashion Week showed a great improvement of diversity from designers, the issue still remains a huge concern in the industry.


(L-R: Oscar de la Renta, Sophie Théallet, Calvin Klein)

"I think we should feel really good about the changes we have seen," said Hardison, who credited André Leon Talley and Naomi Campbell for motivating her to take action.

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Attendees such as Rachel Roy, Tyson Beckford, and modeling and casting agents listened as Hardison suggested that modeling agents seek out African-American models, have designers be more involved with fashion models and booking African-American models for ad campaigns. And while criticizing Vera Wang and Badgley Mischka for their non-African-American casting, she praised Ralph Lauren and Oscar de la Renta for their diverse choices. Issues regarding the lack of black models coming from the agencies and low pay were also raised.

Hopefully, this discussion will be one of many in the ongoing fight for diversity on the runway, and in the words of designer Michael Vollbracht, "I hate this forum because it shouldn't even be an issue."

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