Fashion’s Blind Spot?
An article in New York Times called ‘Fashion’s Blind Spot’ should be shocked the hell out of me. Me, the one who believes fashion is the way to express ourselves without boundaries and nationalities is just written under political measure, nothing more. We are who we are. International love, man… Passion for fashion, etc, etc. But it is not because I know deep down, it’s not entirely true. Just face it: fashion is not that expressive. You have to be able to know where you are at before ‘expressing’ yourself, who you are talking to (I won’t brag about my sketches in front of Karl Lagerfeld or Carine Roitfeld). I can accept that, but what we are going to talk is far beyond what we can change or adapt. Races, or racism to be exact.
Let me ask you, how many black models do you see walking on the runway every season? One? Two? Is it the same Chanel Iman? Jourdan Dunn? Maybe Naomi Campbell? Yes, according to the statistic 82.7 percents of the models walking down in NYFW last February is white models. The rest of them are asians, african-americans, and latinos. What a rough truth to face! It happens not in some under-developed countries! It’s the New York City! Fashion always talks about expression and freedom along with good clothes and parties, but after a lot of thinkings and reviewing shows (while watching them carefully), are we (after all this time) racist?
Hard to tell, if the fashion industry is racist or not. Some people do agree, that good models always white models. Black still represents ugliness, poor, and (gulp!) slavery (remember that time when America was the number one slave market?). Asian models are doing good lately, but that probably happens because China’s growing economy and new, fresh customers scattered all across the Asia. Money power, not a sincere realization behind the thick skulls of money scumbags.
But maybe it is us that see it from the wrong point of view.
Maybe designers are indeed looking for more black/asian/latino models, but they can’t find them. Just face it, apart from talented, fashion industry demands professional, durable, strong, beautiful individuals. We don’t want selfish and unsophisticated models, who are wailing about hair-pulling-pain, difficult clothes and narrow runways. Designers (and editors and money scumbags) NEED to have those strong girls. And maybe because of these high demands in both personality, time and risks of being ‘just standard’ models, people are afraid, leaving just a bunch of girls (who happen to be mostly white) who are ready to commit.
Or maybe black/asian/latino is not what the designer envisioned in their minds. It’s up to the designer at the end of the day, to choose who’ll walk on the show and who won’t. We can’t blame them for choosing their visions rather than public’s opinions. This is the industry where people are so selfish and creative at the same time. It’s better to stick to your vision, just like what Mama Wintour once said in an interview.
For me, maybe both of them are true. Fashion was racist at first because political, war things. But when they all over, it’s too late already. The beauty concept has redefined into ‘white’, young designers are just doing what the previous generations think beautiful, the concept has buried so deep in their minds, even deeper than their creativity. It’s become an unconscious concept that’s so strong and cause endless circle of what appears nowadays as racism. You can say that I blame old generations for this problem.
But time is changing and the only thing we can do is open up our minds to new visions. Black is the new beauty, just the same with Asian, Latinos, and… White. Time for us to finally leave the past and enter the new generation of beauty. And hoping that we’ll have better sights with no blind spot few years from now.
P.S: What do you think about this problem? Is it society fault? Is it designers fault? Is it models fault? Tell me because it’s getting waaaayyyyyy more confusing than what I can handle. Help!