Fall fashion is practically upon us, and with it comes New York Fashion Week and a bevy of activists counting the number of Black models that make it down this year’s runway. Ebony is beating us all to the punch by featuring the up-and-coming faces we need to watch out for and celebrate. In its September issue, six beautiful Black models pose for the cover as well as a 10-page fashion spread: Chantelle Winnie, Milan Dixon, Fatima Siad, Marquita Pring, Diandra Forrest and Samantha Archibald.
But where would these new talents be if it weren’t for those who paved the way before them? Ebony editors also sat down with former Black models like Tyra Banks, Beverly Johnson, Roshumba and Pat Cleveland to discuss the importance of having Black models representing their community in the fashion industry. Gail O’Neill also went so far as to say that the industry has become much less diverse since her own modeling days.
“When I started in 1985, the industry was far more integrated. I feel sorry for the Black girls working today. So many times there is just one brown face, maybe two, in the couture shows… I can’t even count how many brown girls I would see every time the collections came around.”
Prominent figures like Naomi Campbell, Iman and Bethann Hardison have raised their voices over the years, demanding that designers open their doors to more Black models. A whitewashed runway is no representation of today’s society, but we’ll see how many brands finally take their advice to heart.
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(Photo: Ebony Magazine, September 2015)