#LetsDiscuss: Does fashion lack ethnic diversity?

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We are all hypnotised into loving the greater things in life, the glamorous lifestyle of Chanel, Burberry, Gucci to name some of many. Delivered to us by the bright lights and 8inch heels worn by the broad, beautiful models dominating the catwalk, in the magazines and adverts. With all the glamour and dream being sold there is one thing that does not go unnoticed, the lack of ethnic diversity within fashion.


Numerous models have voiced there concerns about the lack of diversity within the fashion industry. In a recent interview 22 year old British Supermodel Jourdan Dunn spoke to net-a-porter and claims that racism in the fashion industry is very still alive. In the interview with the online fashion publication Dunn expressed issues that she has faced as a young black model.  She has been turned back from a casting before because the client “didn’t want any more black girls”.

she has also faced problems once on a photoshoot, she speaks about when a make up artist announced that she didn’t want to work on Jourdan’s face because she was white and Jourdan was black.

As models are raising their concerns on the lack of diversity and are hoping for times to change, Johnson Gold the editor of PAUSE, gives his insight on working within the fashion industry. “I work with white, Asian and black people and we all seem to get along, I haven’t witnessed any racism.”

PAUSE magazine is a free online male fashion magazine also released four times a year available to order in print.  The magazine promotes youthful, stylish and influential products for males.

Johnson goes on to explain. “Racial debates about which colour model to use for specific photo shoots comes up and does become quite stereotypical in fashion. I think it’s a choice of race for particular clothing, photo shoots or anything else- sometimes people wouldn’t think its an issue but race is a decision making process in the fashion industry.” He also adds, “There isn’t no problems but there is quite a lot of stereotypes that are being associated with particular races.” One question that lingers is, isn’t there enough choice of different races to pick for these photo shoots? Statistics show the diversity in ethnicity within some of the top UK modelling agencies.

When it comes to the decision of what race should be used in a photo shoot, it should be carefully considered and not manipulated. French Numero Magazine failed to do this when a spread titled ‘African Queens’ outraged the public. The photographer Sebastian Kim used a young white girl with blonde hair and blue eyes with her face painted black. The fact her face was painted black triggered a lot of questions about the fashion industry. Did they fail to find a black model to play the part of the African queen? Or couldn’t they have just left the model with her natural skin colour.

One of the worlds biggest fashion weeks, New York fashion week statistics taken by Jezebel.com yearly show the lack of ethnic diversity from 2008 to a recent date. With the findings of over 9 years  it is clear to see that the lack of ethnic diversity within fashion remains at a stand still.


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