When Kanye West showcased his latest designs in Paris this week there was no doubt that expectations were high, but for some, what wasn’t expected was the perceived lack of African American models in the show. While many of us didn’t bat an eye (I mean the point of the show was the designs, not the models right?) some people took offense to Kanye’s lack of runway diversity.
To be fair, Kanye isn’t alone. Many African American designers opt to use more white models to showcase their clothing during fashion shows and in advertising. Of course it can be said that there are more white models available than black ones, but while the numbers may be disproportionate, there are certainly enough black and other models of color around to fill a show. It’s no secret that when it comes to beauty in this country white is right and women of color, while somewhat celebrated, are still looked down on for having figures too curvaceous for runway sample sizes. Designers don’t just design for fun, they design for profit, and if the “standard” of beauty in fashion is a size 0 model with no hips, booty and only a smidge of boobs, well that cuts many colored girls off at the pass, so designers (black, white or other) are left to choose from white models in order to sell their clothing. Then that leaves us wondering why would black designers not want to go against the grain?
These designers know better than anyone that black is beautiful, so why not buck the system and throw some sisters in that b*#ch? Black models can sell clothing just as well if not better than their white counterparts so why aren’t more black designers using them in their shows and advertising. Why are they buying into and promoting the stereotype that black can’t sell? Considering that it will be mostly black women running to the stores to support one of our own, maybe using more black models in their shows is the least black designers can do.