This is Part 3 of a four-part series on Bethann Hardison’s campaign to diversify the runway as seen on her website Balance Diversity. Read Part 1 here. Read part 2 here.
Currently, all eyes are on New York where Fashion Week is making its biannual splash. This year has gotten off to an especially explosive start with news of Bethann Hardison‘s campaign to diversify the runway which has included calling out specific designers on their racism.
Racism is shocking and unacceptable no matter what. But we are especially shocked to see that the Fall 2013 RTW shows of some of the fashion world’s best known feminists are on Hardison’s list of racist designers.
Or are we that shocked? After all, the crux of the incredibly timely and necessary twitter campaign of #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen (initiated by Mikki Kendall) was hinged on the poor and unfair treatment of women of colour within the feminist movement.
Above: Cora Emmanuel was the only black model in the Prada Fall 2013 RTW show.
With Hardison’s infamous list, we can see that Prada and Victoria Beckham have both made the list. Miuccia Prada is a longtime and well-known fashion world feminist, yet the collection in her name was sadly deemed racist by Hardison’s standards. Indeed, the show had three Asian models, and one black model among the dozens of white models.
Above: Fei Fei Sun is one of a few Asian models, and the only models of colour to appear in Victoria Beckham’s Fall 2013 RTW show. This show had no black models.
Victoria Beckham also made the list. Despite being praised on this site twice (here and here) as a feminist fashion designer, it seems that she has a lot to learn about intersectional feminism and anti-racism.
So #SolidarityIsForPradaAndBeckham then, no?
Also of interest is the fact that Diane von Furstenberg is President of the CFDA. Hardison’s letter of racist New York-based fashion designers was addressed to her, and with such an esteemed position, it will be interesting to see what von Furstenberg does with this information. She is, after all, a feminist herself, and we’re encouraged that her Spring 2014 collection shown yesterday was in fact relatively diverse: of the 38 looks shown, 15 were shown on models of colour.
Above: The 90s supermodels pack, including Naomi Campbell.
Furthermore, is anyone else disappointed that no white models, even ones with a lot of clout, have come forward as allies to black models and models of colour? Someone as popular as Lindsay Wixson, Jessica Stam (who was in Prada’s Fall 2013 show), or Cara Delevinge could surely threaten to drop out or some other engage in some other act of protest unless a show hired more models of colour? Naomi Campbell has often spoken of how much the camaraderie of her fellow 90s supermodels has meant to her when she was experiencing racism back in the day as the lone black model. So who the heck is sticking up for Chanel Iman, Jourdan Dunn, and Cora Emmanuel? Apparently no one. #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, indeed.