French Vogue Controversy Issue

What is going on in the fashion industry today? First of all, we all know that black models are not used by many designers during fashion week but also for advertising campaigns. Models of color are struggling to find work in an industry that is known for turning them down for whatever reasons. Some of them are often based on their skin tone. Just to name some of those reasons, designers often go for the exotic look of the Brazilian models or the eastern European look, those models are long, lean, pale and their waste are smaller than many black models.

Black models are like trends, one season; it may be trendy to have a black girl so designers will include one or two in their shows or campaigns. The next season comes and it is like: “thank you very much but we do not need you.” I can understand that some of those designers, including some of my favorite’s ones, design with a specific clientele in mind. Some of the biggest fashion houses are in Europe and many want to woo those potential European buyers so they use models that look like them. Spending a lot of money to have a black girl especially right now that the economy is in turmoil is out of the question. Supermodels like Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks just to name a few have openly voiced their opinions regarding this matter.

Designers are very talented people and many make clothes for the enjoyment of our eyes and to make people feel good about themselves. Aren’ t you guys happy to fit into your favorite pair of jeans, your sexy little black dress, mini skirt, shoes and the list goes on? I myself say: “yes.” Don’t’ you guys feel beautiful and ready to tackle a new day because you know that you look good? All that is possible because they want to make beautiful clothes that will appeal to the consumers. Yes people, beauty is behind many inspirations. What you and I may consider beautiful may not be for some. What I am trying to say is that beauty is universal so designers, casting directors, fashion magazines editors, and the decision makers of the fashion industry should make an effort to represent it in full not partially. If they were more open to do so, more models of color will be working and, we will not be in a position in which designers and other influential people in the fashion industry will use black models because they do not want to be single out or be called racist.

Last year, we were all excited to hear about the all Italian Vogue issue. I was happy to see a prestigious fashion magazine with so many beautiful black models not only on the front cover but throughout the entire issue. This issue certainly made some noise but not loud enough. Recently, French Vogue decided to paint a white model black for its October issue, posing with her face, arms and legs painted in dark make up, I was speechless. What is the big deal some might say? It is just art and models are just blank canvases designed to be transformed however photographers in this case French Vogue editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld wanted. Well in that case, it is not simply art done wrong but also an insult to all black models, women of color all over. My point is: ‘If you want BLACK, then get a black model for the job instead of painting one.”

You be the judge. What do you guys think? —— By: Roberte Varasse


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