Thursday, November 22, 2012

Only Space For One

Joan Smalls mentioned in a recent interview with Bazaar that she was discouraged by the notion in the fashion industry that there was "only space for one [girl of colour]". It got me thinking about the state of the industry, the state of society, but also, the seemingly unchanging mindset that women of colour are 'exotic' and can only be taken in small doses. 

It's always a big deal when a girl of colour is First Face for a runway show, or lands a major campaign, but is there enough  women of colour in the industry at all? 

It's like every season, there are at most, 3 women of colour who are 'allowed' to dominate the area of choice, when in actual fact, the entire industry is dominated by Eastern European waif-like models. 

I'm not here to start a revolution, but really, think about the theory. Is there an unspoken quota system for the fashion industry, that at any given time, two girls of colour are allowed to shine? 

There's always a contrast between the girls of the moment though, a best-of-both-worlds of ethnicity, a complimentary set of qualities to define the women chosen. Almost every time however, the women who face off, are set apart by complexion. It's a sad symptom of society, but it should serve as a symbol of equality, to show that complexion does not define beauty and that women of all races should be comfortable in their skin. But does the industry's  'regulation' of black models justify the lack of colour?

Pair #1: Tyra and Naomi

Contrast signature: Caramel vs Chocolate


Pair #2: Iman and Alek

Contrast signature: Contemporary vs Tribal (still light vs dark though)

Pair #3: Chanel and Joan

Light South American vs (comparatively) Darker South American

When will an actual balance of race be reached in the fashion industry and furthermore, when will the consumers start demanding it?

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