Racism in Fashion: Lack Of Diversity Echoes Underwhelming Media Representation Of Women Of Color

By | March 11, 2013

A staggering 82% of models at this season’s New York Fashion Week were white, which makes it easy to say that high fashion doesn’t appreciate women of color. But Kerry Washington’s lead role in the smash hit Scandal marks the first black woman to head a network drama in close to four decades. So is this dearth of diversity a symptom of racism in fashion or a reflection of media representations of women of color today?

According to the Jezebel analysis of diversity in the latest New York Fashion Week, out of the 4,479 spots in the Fall-Winter shows, 776 were cast to models of color with Asian models receiving the majority of these spots (9.1%), followed by African American models (6%) and Latina models (2%) — and a dubious other ethnicities category raking in 12 spots (.2%). As Jezebel notes, “Casting directors have told [Jezebel] in the past that there’s a belief on the part of some designers that bright spring colors look better on non-white skin tones than fall and winter hues.” (PolicyMic)

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