Pastels. Bold brights. Color blocking. Emeralds. Oxbloods.
Color is all over the runway during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, but I’ve been waiting for a few seasons to be pointed in the direction of diversity.
Without a doubt, Fashion Week in New York City is a fanfare of grandiose gestures, stilettos and bird seeds for meals that writers, socialites and celebrities alike flock to for work, research or just to pass time. But there is something about the exclusivity of the makeshift tents that is almost off-putting, and dare I say, borderline intimidating, even for those that stand out in the flurry of a blizzard.
While I was excited to delve into the festivities of Fashion Week, I made it a note to allow my eyes to drift from the fashions of the runways, and to skim the front rows and the crowds that were filled with colorful coats and shoes, but not colorful faces.
The talk of black models on the runway is tried and true: we need more of them, but when it comes to other spots in the industry, we miss the ship.
A plethora of black models, namely Jourdan Dunn and even pop star Rihanna, have voiced their distain about the absence of knowledge when it comes to dealing with ethnic hair and makeup. A look at any token black girl on a runway’s hair can tell you that the situations could use a little more expertise.
We obsess over the Beyonces, and fantasize about the Kobes, but when it comes to fashion, we exclude just about everyone who isn’t entertaining desires of the masses.
Modeling is probably the one industry where the freedom to refer to people by their color and reject them in their work due to their color is blatantly obvious, but does this underlying attitude carry over into the fashion realm as well?
Without over the top gimmicky displays, it seems increasingly harder for a person of color to break into any realm of fashion. The understated white t-shirt cool works if you’re a Kanye West, but what exactly is it going to take for a gimmick-free black presence in the fashion industry?
I am going to bank on a generational overhaul.
In 2012, of the 4,561 individual looks that were seen during the shows, 20.1 percent were worn by women of color. Black models represented 8 percent of this total, while Asian models fared slightly better with representation at 8.8 percent.
Most of these models were on the runways of designers of color like Tracy Reese.
Pantone may declare the color of the year, but we’re going to need minorities to start claiming their space in the world before the industry fades black to white.
Rachel is the Associate Editor and Senior Style Writer for GlobalGrind.com, proud graduate of a SUNY school, and as sarcastic as they come. Follow her on Twitter for random daily ramblings @MiissHislop