The size issue may be a current debate in the fashion industry, but it really isn’t the only one. Relating to my previous post about Nick Knight and SHOWstudio commenting on how Knight feels about the fashion industry – ‘it’s racist, ageist and sizeist’, I couldn’t help but remark on this recent article in i-D Magazine.
i-D ‘s Pre-Fall issue had an extremely eye opening article with four top black models – Sessilee Lopez, Jourdan Dunn, Arlenis Sosa and Chanel Iman all commenting on what it’s like to be a black model in today’s fashion industry.
Ok, so the industry that from the outside looks like a shinning star, exudes passion and thinks it’s better than the rest of us – doesn’t seem to be matching up on the inside. Jourdan Dunn passionately expressed her opinion that ‘There are loads of black models working and the idea that there’s only a few of us, or four of us, to let in as top models at any one time is just bullshit. It creates an unnecessary competition when we should be standing together.’
According to Chanel the fashion industry is like the Swiss Alps, exclusively white on top with little understanding of other races and ethnic backgrounds. She claims that ‘It usually takes an ethnic girl – I’m not saying black, I’m saying ethnic, let’s make that clear – twice as long. We’ve gotta work extra hard to stay in the game and stay with the girls who do well but aren’t ethnic. Some girls can skip seasons but us ethnic girls, we cannot skip a season because that’ll kill us.’
This really opened my eyes, I couldn’t believe that now in the 21st century when we have a black president there are still litigations about the race of models used. There are billions of people in the world that are ethnic, so how can the fashion industry have the right to be even slightly discriminatory against anything different to white. At the end of the day they really need to start looking at their consumers, their target audience (and that’s if they know the word) because at the end of the day they need to start appealing to everyone – not just in size, but in looks, race, age etc. Because if they don’t someday in the future people will stop supporting them, realising that they can never adhere to their ‘ideal’ of perfection, so why bother trying.
To be honest I think we ought to start now, why bother trying to make ourselves something that we’re not!! As Sessilee Lopez (below) confirms, ‘Fashion might be a huge industry but it has to cater to every single body and every single person. If it wants to exist in a consistent way, it has to be there for all of us.’