My monthly blog post for Mindbubble is a great opportunity to discuss current issues and things that are making me stop and think. March’s blog (a little late here, apologies, I’ve been on holiday!) was all about racism in fashion; does it still exist? Is it being eradicated or just ignored? What is the fashion industry’s relationship with colour – is white always seen as the most ‘pure’ and beautiful?
“Late last month, as all eyes were on the last AW11 fashion weeks, the world was shocked by allegations of John Galliano, Creative Director for Dior, hurling ant-semitic abuse at a couple in La Perle, Paris. Galliano was arrested, and Dior subsequently suspended him… It was truly shocking, and made me consider the fashion world’s general outlook at other races/cultures, and if it is truly as all-inclusive as it should be.
My gut reaction is that while fashion isn’t overly racist or flamboyantly prejudiced, it is still an industry with predominantly caucasian ideals of beauty. While you can say that there are many ethnically diverse designers all contributing to multiculturalism within fashion, the ‘face’ of the industry, as it were, is the model, and she is still nearly always white. Galliano’s comments were directed at a religion rather than a skin colour, but it hints at a darker side of the industry, which can still be extremely prejudiced.”
In researching the article I uncovered some uncomfortable truths, that although couldn’t answer my question (Is Fashion Still Racist?) outright, made me think that perhaps it is not as inclusive as it should be, in this multi-cultural, diverse 21st Century.
“There is a sense that there are too many extremes going on. Either featuring ethnic models to make a point (artistic or otherwise), or shoving them in the background, lightening their skin colour, or just not casting them at all. There was uproar over Vanity Fair – and later L’oreal – apparently lightening Beyoncé’s skin tone on the cover and in the ads respectively. Is this because society itself still seems to accept that to be beautiful is not black? Or at least, not very dark? We don’t live in a perfect society; there unfortunately is, and probably always will be, some forms of racism; Galliano is a prime example that people still hold prejudices which most of us cannot fathom. Is it that fashion is an age behind the rest of society; or does it just hold up a mirror and reflect a more concentrated form of that society?”
You can read the full post over here at Mindbubble – it’s a really interesting and relevant topic; one which I feel we are only just scratching the surface of. I’d love to hear your thoughts, so do post a comment on how you feel fashion tackles race.