Posts tagged Fashion
What we really mean

The discourse around colourism in the fashion industry is sorely outdated.

Mainstream media platforms have been taken by storm by the likes of Black women like Issa Rae, and men like Jordan Peele. Collectively, their viewpoints reflect and take action towards creating space within mainstream media for Black people. Issa Rae’s infamous comment at the 2017 Emmy’s, “I’m rooting for everybody Black”, was controversial to say the least. But a welcome change of pace for the Black community in relation to an industry that’s overly saturated in a distinct shade of white.


Once upon a time this was not so.

The dialogue in the entertainment industry around female rappers is indicative of the archaic views thrust upon the Black community, and subsequently adopted by us. That there’s only room for one.

That “one” was the tokenistic approach to silencing cries of racism. We’ve seen it in movies, tv shows, runways and practically everything that reaches the wider public.

The modelling industry has been consistently under fire for it’s reluctance to change. While pay rates rise across industries, models are still fighting for basic OH&S and in a lot of instances, wages that reflect modelling as a profession.

photo sourced via @adutakech

photo sourced via @adutakech

So it should come as no surprise that the same antiquated rhetoric and ideologies around tokenism that make female rap go-round, also penetrate our beloved industry. There can only be one.

Models have been given a voice alongside the rest of us since social media became so widely adapted. They’ve been calling out casting directors left, right and centre for the absurd requests made. Like to only drink water for 24 hours before the show. Imagine.

But many models, almost always Black, have been calling out the industry for blatant colourism. The favouritism of lighter skinned Black women permeates across the industry, globally. Particularly for commercial work. The fetishization of dark skin Black women is rife in editorial displays, but when it comes to selling products to the wider public? Brands tend to go for the iteration of Black that still incorporates elements of whiteness.

Still, we remain in a vicious cycle of unlearning in an industry that taught us ‘there can only be one’. Our words tend to reflect this doctrine. We say colourism in the industry has simply got to go. What that really means is that the minuscule percentage of gigs allotted to Black women should be equally spread across dark skin and light skin Black women. Which is indeed true, but what we really mean is that at a bare minimum, double down on that percentage and make room for us all. Whiteness is treated like a canvas across the industry, and if the casting call doesn’t call for ethnic, exotic or specifically Black, Black models are dismissed.
So put us forward, light skin, dark skin and every shade in between; for your regular shmegular roles typically reserved for non-Black models.

Profile Highlight - Diet Prada

It’s a trending topic just as much as it is cyclical. And like the seasons, it keeps coming back around. The concept of appropriation across the industry, whether it be from a cultural standpoint, or a creative stance just won’t go away.

There’s a fine line between appreciation and appropriation. One involves being inspired by a piece of work and applying bits and pieces of the concept to your own, crediting those who are due; whereas the other involves simply taking the concept and mimicking it.

They say there is no such thing as an original idea, and the constant consumption of media through social channels makes it all the more difficult to tune into your own reality and draw content from your own experiences. But where there’s a will (and a genuine conversation to be had) there most certainly is a way.

Independent designers have it tough. The barriers to entry for the industry can take lots of time, lots of money, and lots of persistence to break down. And once your foot is in the door, there’s a world of business out there that takes equally as many resources to understand and operate within. As a result, patents aren’t entirely accessible to those whose sole focus is to create something original, and bring a concept to life. Subsequently, the end result is easily ripped off, appropriated, and sold for a fraction of the price by brands who really should know better.

Never fear, fashion fans. Diet Prada is an Instagram hero that calls out big and small brands alike. After all– credit where credit is due, right? On Diet Prada’s page nobody is safe, except for Naomi Campbell who is truly cherished and rightfully so #iconic. To keep up with the latest scandals from H&M to Haute Couture powerhouses, click here. Not sure what you’re in for? More of this:

(photo sourced via @diet_prada)

(photo sourced via @diet_prada)

“Are we seeing triple?  The @clermonttwins are serving Kim K replica “realness” in platinum tresses and shameless bootlegs of a @laquan_smith zipper-back dress from @fashionnova .  An odd move considering they’ve supported LaQuan in the past by wearing his designs and walking in his shows. With AsSeTs like theirs, would you trust the zipper on the $19.97 version?”

– Kyah Parrott